BASEBALL: Elis fails against No. 15 UConn, now looks to bounce back against Penn
After losing a midweek game to UConn 4–8, the Bulldogs will now turn their attention to their three-game series against Penn this weekend.
As the Yale baseball team (17–15, 7–8 Ivy) enters the final stretch of the season, only two series remain.
After losing their last four games, the Blue and Whites are in the midst of a difficult period. Yale’s hopes of making the playoffs faded last weekend after they were swept by Columbia (23-13, 13-2 Ivy) in a three-game away series. The Elis failed to come back in the bottom of the inning against No. 15 UConn (34–8, 7–8 Big East) on Wednesday, losing their individual game to the Huskies 4–8.
“The team fought very well at UConn,” said closest Mark Capell ’25. “We had 14 hits, [but] we just couldn’t piece together as many tracks as we would have liked. It’s a talented hitting team that as a pitcher I would have liked [challenge] in the zone more, but they are a strong opponent for sure.
The Bulldogs showed courage in the Battle of the Dogs against UConn. The Huskies, who were unanimously chosen in the preseason as the favorites to win their conference, had enjoyed significant success before their game against the Elis. Yale’s state rival is currently ranked fifteenth in the nation and has won 15 of its last 16 games.
In Wednesday’s game, the Huskies struck first. With two-way player Jimmy Chatfield ’24 on the mound, the UConn roster scored early by driving home a run in the first inning. The Huskies scored five more runs over the next four innings. They further extended their lead with an eighth frame from two points.
Huskies first-year starter Ian Cooke, who currently has a just 1.71 ERA, was phenomenal on the mound and pitched six innings against the Elis. After those frames, the Bulldogs attacked the opposing bullpen and were able to get on the board with a three-point seventh that halved UConn’s lead. However, Yale failed to pull off a successful comeback and could only score one more point in the ninth.
In their next games, the Blue and Whites will look to further improve their performance at the plate, especially with regard to situational hitting. Pitcher Carter Kessinger ’23 said the team “definitely [has] room for improvement.” He added that “[Yale] can always throw the ball better, [and] do a better job of trying to string together hits and score runs in key situations with runners on base.
The Bulldogs will also be looking to maximize their forces on the mound. In an early April interview with the News, Yale ace Grant Kipp ’22 said one area staff were looking to improve was “to do a better job ahead of the count,” particularly when it comes to was about “effectively putting people away and trying to get more strikeouts.
Yale will now look to turn things around this weekend as they prepare to face Penn (25-10, 12-2 Ivy), who is ranked second in the Ivy League. The three-game series begins Friday, April 29 at 1 p.m. The Quakers have won every conference series they’ve had so far this season, losing just two individual games to Columbia and Dartmouth (19-15, 10-5 Ivy). Penn will head to New Haven with momentum after recent sweeps against Brown (8–22, 3–12 Ivy), Cornell (9–20, 4–11 Ivy) and Harvard (16–18, 7–7 Ivy).
The Quakers are a balanced team with a fearsome offense and a strong pitching staff. At plate, their lineup is disciplined and consistent, leading the league in walks and on-base percentage. Penn batters aren’t afraid to be plate aggressive, either, and are ranked second in the conference in batting average, slugging percentage and hits.
To clinch a series win over Penn, the Bulldogs will need to show their offensive strengths and exploit the weaknesses of the opposing pitching squad, which has been among the strongest in the Ivy League. The Quaker arms have been outstanding this season, leading the league in strikeouts, fewer hits allowed, fewer runs allowed and wins. Penn’s pitchers will enter the series against Yale with a combined 4.12 ERA, the lowest in the conference. They also limited opposing hitters to a .232 batting average.
“Facing Penn this weekend, we have to bring a lot of energy and fight within ourselves,” Capell said. “They’re a really strong hitting team…so we’re going to have to charge up front, throw with conviction and play solid defense to win this series. As a team, we have goals to finish as well as possible, which starts with Friday’s game.
The Bulldogs’ record at George H. W. Bush ’48 Field currently stands at 7–3, which is an improvement from their last full season in 2019, when they had a 5–5 home record.