With just two weeks remaining in what has been a tightly contested Ivy League season, the playoff finalists are far from settled.
After both four-team divisions finalize their championship representatives, the two will square off to determine the true Ivy League champion beginning May 7.
After losing three of four this weekend to the Tigers, the Quakers (16-15, 7-5 Ivy) currently sit two games behind Princeton (15-16, 9-3) in the Lou Gehrig division — which also features Columbia (16-16, 6-6) and Cornell (5-25, 3-9). Though Penn lost ground on the Tigers, the series was hotly contested as two of Penn’s losses were by just one run.
Penn and Princeton have eight Ivy League contests remaining, splitting the next two weekends between Columbia and Cornell. Though Columbia has an outside shot of upsetting the favorites to take the division, the Lou Gehrig Division pennant will likely go to whichever team consistently takes care of business against the teams they are capable of beating.
Penn has been the number-one hitting team throughout conference play. The Quakers lead the league in batting average, runs scored and homeruns through 12 conference games. Not only do the Red and Blue boast the best hitter of any Ivy Leaguer over that span in catcher Will Davis, but they also have arguably the best starter in the league in senior right-hander Paul Cusick, who sports a sparkling 0.84 earned run average and leads the league with 30 strikeouts.
For Penn to take the division crown this season, the team will rely heavily on the continued success of its two dominant seniors.
Princeton, meanwhile, has a formidable pitching staff, which has posted a 2.68 team ERA. The Tigers also possess a talented freshman phenom in New Jersey native Mike Ford, who not only leads the team with his .321 batting average on the season, but has also been the team’s best pitcher during Ivy League play (2-0, 1.58 ERA).
On the other side of the League is an even more tightly contested race in the Red Rolfe Division. Featuring Yale, Dartmouth, Brown and Harvard, only the Crimson appear to be out of the hunt with a 3-9 mark. Yale (20-12, 8-4) is the frontrunner, but close behind are Dartmouth and Brown, each with 6-6 conference records. Additionally, the Bulldogs will have to best both Dartmouth and Brown in their remaining series to emerge victorious, while the latter two teams will each get a shot at a weaker Harvard squad.
Though Ivy League statistics represent a small sample size of a team’s entire season, the numbers represent how a player has been doing lately. And lately, Yale has been on a tear.
The Bulldogs have two of the top three hitters during Ivy League play and, more importantly, boast three of the six best hurlers. The Big Green however, may still remain the favorites to emerge, as they have experience of back-to back Ivy League championships on their side.Comments powered by Disqus
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