The Big Green Weekend Primer

by Blaze Joel and Brett Drucker | 4/2/15 6:01pm

Spring term has finally arrived and with it the return of some of the Big Green’s most successful programs. The baseball team is looking for its eighth consecutive Red Rolfe Division title, while the softball team is looking to return to the NCAA Tournament and have repeat success at winning the Ivy League Championship, which it did for the first time in program history last year. Fourteen Big Green teams are in action this weekend, and here are some of the marquee matchups.

Men’s Lacrosse at No. 11 Yale University (Saturday at 3 p.m.)

Men’s lacrosse (3-4, 1-1 Ivy) is one of this spring’s most surprising teams so far and currently sits in fourth in the Ancient Eight, despite a 3-4 overall record. The Big Green is coming off an 8-2 defeat against Cornell University — ranked No. 3 in the NCAA and the top-ranked team in the Ivy League — that interrupted a three-game winning streak for the Big Green.

The Bulldogs (7-2, 1-2 Ivy) sit in fifth in the Ivy League, but began the season 5-0 en route to a top-25 ranking. Their season includes a 10-6 win over perennial powerhouse No. 4 University of Maryland, the Terrapins’ only loss of the year thus far.

Yale has had its fair share of convincing wins this year, as it’s average margin of victory is more than four goals per game and its two losses are by a combined eight goals.

The Bulldogs average more than 12 goals per game and have only been held to single digits twice. In contrast, the Big Green has only topped 10 goals three times and averages 8.6 goals per game.

The teams have had two common opponents in the early season – Sacred Heart and Cornell Universities. The Bulldogs bested Sacred Heart 13-3 their last time out, while the Big Green suffered a 10-9 early-season defeat. Cornell topped both teams by more than six.

This game will come down to pace. If the Bulldogs get out and running and the score climbs high, the Big Green may struggle to keep up on the offensive end. If the Big Green can control the pace and limit Yale’s second chance opportunities, it has a chance to score it’s second top-15 upset of the season.

PREDICTION: Yale 12-8

Baseball vs. Cornell University (Friday at 12 p.m.)

The baseball team (4-16, 2-2 Ivy) comes home for the first time this season and has struggled with injuries in the early season against some quality Big 10 and West Coast opponents. They have now entered the meat of their schedule, though — the Ivy League season. The Big Red (6-14, 3-1 Ivy) comes to Hanover after having an up-and-down season of its own in the early going. Nonetheless, each team is currently tied for first in its respective division.

The teams have both played Bucknell University with strikingly different results. The Big Green dominated the Bison 8-0 while Cornell dropped three of four against the Patriot League foe in a four-game series earlier this season. Last season, the Big Green and Big Red split their season meetings, both of which were one-run contests. The Big Green won an exciting 5-4 contest in 11 innings in Ithaca, New York last season.

The Ivy League baseball season is fiercely competitive, as any win can put a team over the top for its division, even this early in the season. Last weekend in its first home Ivy action of the season, the Big Green came away with a pair of split doubleheaders, winning the first game and losing the second against Columbia University before splitting a pair of one-run games with the University of Pennsylvania. This matchup is shaping up to be another close series early in the men’s season.

PREDICTION: Dartmouth 4-3

Softball vs. Princeton University (Friday at 2 p.m.)

The softball team (10-13, 3-1 Ivy) returns many of its stars from last season’s Ivy League Champion squad and has slowly built itself into an Ivy League powerhouse, appearing in the last two Ivy League Championship Series. Softball also opens its home slate this weekend with two doubleheaders against both Princeton (10-13, 2-0 Ivy) and Cornell University (8-11, 2-2 Ivy).

The Big Green has had some marquee matchups this season and held its own against nationally ranked competition in Auburn University and the University of Texas.

The Big Green has returned to its dominant form in Ivy play, however, notching three wins in four games. After splitting the doubleheader against defending Ivy runner-up University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, the Big Green defeated Columbia University 8-0 and 9-0 in its second doubleheader of the weekend. Princeton is coming off of two one-run wins against Brown University.

Kristen Rumley ’15 has returned to form for the Big Green, pitching all 12 innings against Columbia and striking out 14 batters in the two wins. The senior also tossed a no-hitter in the first contest, which helped to earn her Ivy Pitcher of the Week Honors. Not to be outdone, Katie McEachern ’16 earned Ivy Player of the Week honors in part due to eight doubles, two home runs and 17 runs scored across the week’s games.

The Big Green should continue rolling against the Tigers, although expect closer games than last weekend against the Lions.

PREDICTION: Dartmouth 3-0