BASEBALL: Elis beats Sacred Heart, seeks to maintain momentum against Cornell
After picking up a 5-1 win over Sacred Heart on Wednesday, the Scorching Bulldogs now turn their attention to this weekend’s three-game series against Cornell, where they aim to extend their five-game winning streak.
On Wednesday, the Yale baseball team (12–6, 3–0 Ivy) showed off their skills at George HW Bush ’48 Field, dominating Sacred Heart University (2–21, 1–2 NEC) in a victory 5–1. After also picking up a resounding win over Quinnipiac and a solid Ivy League opener sweep against Princeton last week, the Bulldogs are now riding a five-game winning streak.
The success against Sacred Heart not only allowed Yale to maintain their home unbeaten record but also to get revenge. Before this week, the Blue and Whites had not won against the Pioneers for more than four years and had lost their last three meetings against them. This season, the Elis have changed the narrative.
The Bulldogs aim to continue their diamond dominance this weekend as they travel to New York, where they will play a three-game series against Cornell (3-11, 0-3 Ivy). This will be the first time these two teams have met in over two years.
“We play really good baseball,” said ’23 pitcher Michael Walsh. “We were in good spirits, bringing a lot of energy to the pitch every day, [to] practice and in games. [The team is] a great group of guys and we all have great faith in each other; every time we go out on the pitch, you can really see it. … Overall we’re really proud of how we’ve been performing lately and we’re looking to build on that momentum this weekend.
Yale’s performance against Sacred Heart looked promising from the start. Jimmy Chatfield ’24 struck out three batters in the first inning and struck out two more in his two scoreless innings. The San Diego two-way player, who was both a starter and designated hitter on Wednesday, picked up his second win of the season and also had three goals.
Clark Klitenic ’24, Mick Kelley ’25, Ben Gibbs ’22, Carter Kessinger ’23 and Reid Easterly ’24 took the mound past Chatfield. Yale’s pitch was one of the highlights of Wednesday’s game, as Eli’s pitchers struck out a total of 11 batters and limited the Pioneers to just two hits over the first eight innings.
“[The pitching staff] is definitely as deep as I’ve ever seen it,” wide receiver Jake Gehri ’22 said. “Many subclasses just came out and did some very impressive things. Upper classes like [Kipp] and [Walsh], who were our Game 1 and Game 2 starters, have also done exceptionally well this year. I’m thrilled to see them stepping into Ivy’s game.
Yale’s offense also started working early against Sacred Heart, hitting first against the Pioneers. The bottom lineout was particularly notable at home plate. Game and eight-hole catcher Max Imhoff ’25 had an RBI single in the second inning that put the Bulldogs on the board. Another run was scored in the third inning, while seven-hole Colton Shaw ’25 went yard in the fourth inning with his first moonshot of the season, a solo blast to left field.
Gehri had an impressive day against the Pioneers, staying hot at home plate after a historic performance last sunday, where he set the all-time conference record for most RBIs in a single game. The Yale catcher went 2–4 against Sacred Heart, hitting a double on his first at bat and sending one out of the park again in the eighth inning. Gehri’s two-run bombshell extended Yale’s comfortable lead to five and was his fifth homer in two games.
The Bulldogs nearly shut out the Pioneers, but closer to Easterly they struggled to end things cleanly. The Texas sophomore southpaw gave up a straight double and three singles in the ninth inning, allowing Sacred Heart to score its first and only run. Yale managed to put a stop to the damage with their stellar defense, emerging from the base-laden final jam with a 4–6–3 double play.
The Elis are now turning their attention to preparing for their next game against Cornell. The series will consist of a doubleheader on Saturday and a third game on Sunday. The two teams last met in New Haven in early April 2019 for another three-game matchup, which culminated in a doubleheader on Saturday and a series win for the Elis as they won the rubber game. 7-2 the next day.
This year, Cornell has had a slow start in conference play. Although they fought back, the Big Reds were swept in their three-game opening series against Harvard (11–8, 3–0 Ivy), a team that appears to be strong contenders for the conference title. . The Crimsons are currently tied with the Bulldogs for first place in the Ancient Eight standings, while Cornell sits last.
Prior to their loss to Harvard at home, the Big Reds were also swept in their regular season opener against the University of Virginia and have only won three games since.
However, Yale should be wary of Cornell’s attack, which has often proved explosive. The Big Reds have averaged seven points in their last four games. The Ithaca team also has plenty of talented players on its roster, like freshman duo Max Jensen and junior Joe Hollerbach.
However, with its strong squad and deep pitching squad, Yale is eager to challenge Cornell this weekend. After winning the Princeton and Ivy League awards last weekend, the Bulldogs will also be looking to extend their streak and maintain momentum as they face their second conference opponent of the season.
“This will be my first trip to Cornell, along with every guy on our team except Teddy Hague,” said star shortstop and ’22 captain Mason LaPlante. “So it will be a new place to experience Ivy League baseball. We can’t wait to get back to the field. During the week, you always look forward to coming back to play again, so I’m looking forward to Saturday.
The first pitch of the series against the Big Reds will be thrown on Saturday, April 2 at 11:30 a.m. on Hoy Field.