Author Archives: Stephen Wood

Duke Eliminates Princeton Women’s Lacrosse in NCAA Quarterfinals

Erin McMunn ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Erin McMunn ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Erin Slifer ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Erin Slifer ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

It was an odd way to go out, even though the No. 11 women’s lacrosse team was facing stiff competition in No. 5 Duke. The Tigers were held to just three points in their NCAA quarterfinal loss, ending a tournament run and a season that had been marked by offensive prowess.

Midfielder Olivia Hompe ’17 scored one of Princeton’s three goals, but the Blue Devils managed to silence senior standout Erin Slifer ’15, who had 41 goals on the season and moved into second place on Princeton’s all-time assists leaderboard Saturday. Princeton’s all-time assist leader, attacker Erin McMunn ’15, added another to her total but also failed to find the net herself.

The Tigers did not lose for lack of possession. Princeton scooped up ground balls left and right, particularly during the first half, and had just four turnovers to Duke’s seven in the second. The problem was simply that the Blue Devils never gave them an easy shot. Time and time again, the Tigers took possession and circled the crease, but even when they found an inroad Duke’s sticks were right there to break up the attempt.

“They were starting well, they were really out on our hands,” head coach Chris Sailer said. “We did get opportunities, but we just weren’t able to get great shots off.”

Duke’s offense did not fare much better. Ellie DeGarmo ’17 played the entire game in the net for the Tigers and notched eight saves, holding the Blue Devils to three points in the first half. Continue reading

Princeton Women’s Water Polo Wins CWPA Crown, NCAA Berth

Goalie Ashleigh Johnson ’16 was named MVP of the CWPA Tournament. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Goalie Ashleigh Johnson ’16 was named MVP of the CWPA Tournament. (Office of Athletic Communications)

The game wasn’t pretty, but the revenge was sweet for the Princeton women’s water polo team Sunday.

After breezing by George Washington and Hartwick in the first two rounds of the CWPA Championship this weekend, the Tigers advanced to the final, facing No. 11 Indiana, a team that had twice beaten them by one point this season. Like the earlier losses, Sunday’s match was decided by just one point, but this time it was Princeton that emerged from the pool victorious.

“We felt prepared for this game for so long, but I felt like we just didn’t want it enough [in previous games], and we knew this was the last opportunity as this group to face them,” goalie Ashleigh Johnson ’16 said.

Unlike Princeton’s 13-12 overtime loss to Indiana on April 10, the story of the day was tough defense and hard-earned goals. The Tigers got on the Hoosiers’ case early, disrupting their offensive flow and limiting their shooting opportunities. The tight defense led to numerous penalty whistles, but the Hoosiers failed to take full advantage of man-up situations in the first half.

“We just applied the right amount of pressure,” Johnson said. “Before, we dropped off of them too much and were just a little bit unaware, but we really pulled together and communicated and put the pressure on them, and they weren’t able to get many shots off.” Continue reading

Unselfish Seniors Help Women’s Basketball Top Brown, Improve to 27-0

On Senior Night, all seniors traditionally start, even those who usually come off the bench. The seniors of the women’s basketball team, however, were less interested in that tradition than in preserving something else: their undefeated record. Seniors Mariah Smith ’15, Alex Rodgers ’15, and Jess Shivers ’15 told head coach Courtney Banghart they didn’t want to start.

“That’s the kind of senior class they’ve been,” Banghart said. “They have decided what’s important to them. What’s important to them is that the group excels.”

From left, the Princeton women’s basketball Class of 2015: Mariah Smith, Alex Rodgers, Blake Dietrick, and Jess Shivers. (Beverly Schaefer)

From left, the Princeton women’s basketball Class of 2015: Mariah Smith, Alex Rodgers, Blake Dietrick, and Jess Shivers. (Beverly Schaefer)

Of course, Banghart showed her appreciation for the group by starting them against Brown anyway. Rodgers and Shivers had an assist and a rebound apiece while Smith contributed eight points. It was the first time this season any of the three had started — only Smith had ever started at Princeton — but it only served to highlight the ways they have contributed to the team.

While Blake Dietrick ’15, the fourth senior on this year’s squad, has carved out a place in the record books and received attention from the national media, her classmates have helped hold the team together in ways that are harder to discern. Career substitutes, they have learned to gauge the tempo of the game, the feelings of the crowd and the mindset of both teams, mentally preparing to provide a shot of energy when Banghart calls them into action.

“They’re kind of my assistant coaches,” Banghart said. “They know that their piece in [the game plan] is the energy on the bench and all that.” Continue reading

Men’s Lacrosse Opens With Win Over Manhattan

Jake Froccaro ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Jake Froccaro ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

The Princeton men’s lacrosse team was at midseason form despite the Valentine’s Day snow, burying Manhattan 14-4 in its first game of the season Feb. 14. The Tigers return nine of their 10 2014 starters, and it was clear that they were already in sync Saturday.

The Tigers got to work before the snow started to fall with a flurry of goals in the first quarter. In less than three minutes, Princeton drew first blood and built up a 4-0 lead, with attacker Bear Altemus ’17 opening the scoring with 8:16 to go in the period. Midfielder Zach Currier ’17 struck next, assisted by midfielder Jake Froccaro ’16. After assisting Gavin McBride ’17’s first career goal, Froccaro won the ensuing faceoff and quickly dished the ball to Ryan Ambler ’16, who found the back of the net for the Tigers’ second goal in eight seconds.

Attacker Mike MacDonald ’15 notched an unassisted goal with under a minute to go in the quarter, and the Tigers never looked back. Ambler would add three more goals while MacDonald scored again and logged three assists as Princeton built up an imposing lead.

Manhattan showed only flashes of offensive prowess, striking at the beginning and end of the second quarter and twice at the end of the game after Princeton head coach Chris Bates replaced his backup goalkeeper with rookie Tyler Blaisdell ’18. Blaisdell made two saves in his first collegiate game. Continue reading

Contini ’17, Women’s Hockey Look to Return to Winning Ways

Molly Contini ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Molly Contini ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

A year ago, Molly Contini ’17 was taking a year off from school to recover from hip surgery. This season, the Tiger forward has returned to the ice at full strength — and then some — earning ECAC Hockey Player of the Month honors in November.

Contini led Princeton’s freshmen in scoring in 2012-13 with 10 points (nine goals and an assist), despite an injury that plagued her throughout the second half of her season. Through 15 games this year, she has scored six goals (a team high) and added seven assists.

Before coming to Princeton, the Ontario native spent three seasons in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League — the highest level of junior women’s amateur hockey in the province — twice leading her team, the Waterloo K-W Rangers, in scoring. Continue reading

Penn Spoils Princeton Women’s Soccer Finale

Not every ending can be storybook. Saturday afternoon’s heartbreaking loss to Penn was certainly not the way women’s soccer head coach Julie Shackford wanted to end her 20-year, 203-win career at Princeton, but she could not have asked for a harder-fought or more exciting finale.

Lauren Lazo '15 scored her 28th career goal in her last game for the Tigers. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Lauren Lazo ’15 scored her 28th career goal in her last game for the Tigers. (Office of Athletic Communications)

The Tigers conceded a goal early and let up another just before the break as Penn came out in surprisingly strong form. During the first half, news broke that Harvard had defeated Columbia 2-1, dashing the Tigers’ already dwindling hopes for an Ivy League title.

If there was nothing left to play for, nobody told forward Tyler Lussi ’17. Lussi was constantly in the attacking third, pressing even the slightest advantage and once colliding mid-air with Quaker goalie Kalijah Terilli. She hugged the sidelines all afternoon, frustrating one defender after another, and stayed in the game after a shot hit her in the head at point-blank range.

Lussi started the second period with a cross to Lauren Lazo ’15, who netted her 28th and final collegiate goal, good for fifth on Princeton’s all-time list. After that, it was all Tigers: Princeton took 16 shots to Penn’s two in the second half, earning seven corners. After 30 minutes that saw several inspired saves from Terilli, the Tigers broke through again as Beth Stella ’18 bounced the ball in off the crossbar from the top of the box. Continue reading

Women’s Soccer Dominates Brown, Keeps Pace in Ivy

On a gray Saturday in the Orange Bubble, the women’s soccer team put on a dazzling performance for their head coach, Julie Shackford. The Tigers recorded their 200th win under Shackford and had plenty of time to celebrate, scoring in the third minute and adding four more goals as goalkeeper Darcy Hargadon ’15 and her defense kept Brown scoreless.

Haley Chow ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Haley Chow ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

The 5-0 margin of victory was the team’s biggest since 2012, and it may have been a sign of things to come. All the scoring was done by two sophomores: Haley Chow ’17 scored at 2:19 and 15:02, and just three minutes after Chow’s second goal Tyler Lussi ’17 netted the first goal of her hat trick. Chow’s first score came from well out of the box as Brown attempted to clear, and she headed in her second goal on a Natalie Larkin ’18 free kick.

Defender Lauren Lazo ’15 set up Lussi’s first goal of the night with a perfect cross. Lazo set up another cross 11 minutes into the second half, and Lussi found the net again after Mikaela Symanovich ’18 got control in front of the net and slipped the ball past a Brown defender and to her sophomore teammate. Lussi completed the hat trick in the 62nd minute, heading a long pass to herself and firing the ball off the far post and into the net. Continue reading

Princeton Football Shows Room to Improve After Opening Loss

Tiger fans don’t need to panic after the football team lost its season opener to San Diego — last year’s 8-2 season, after all, began with a loss. But the team has much to learn from the 39-29 result.

Bad news first: Princeton’s defense let up some explosive plays. The Toreros scored on passes of 29 and 48 yards, and that’s not to mention quarterback Keith Williams’ 82-yard completion to Reggie Bell, which took San Diego from its own 7 to Princeton’s 11 yard line, setting up the first touchdown of the game.

Receiver Seth DeValve caught nine passes for 123 yards in Princeton’s loss to San Diego Sept. 20 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Receiver Seth DeValve caught nine passes for 123 yards in Princeton’s loss to San Diego Sept. 20 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Khamal Brown ’16 had two tackles in his first game since 2012 and Matt Arends ’15 was in on five, one for a loss, but overall it was a disappointing day for Princeton’s defensive backfield. Linebacker Mike Zeuli ’15 led the team with eight tackles and recorded the Tigers’ only two sacks, but his teammates could not keep up the pressure he put on Williams. The worst fears about the defense seemed to be realized: Without Caraun Reid ’14 to terrify the quarterback, Princeton’s opponent was free to carve up the defensive backfield.

The offense got off to a slow start as well. Quinn Epperly ’15, whose completion percentage is usually not a concern, went 25 of 53, throwing two touchdowns but also two interceptions. He was sacked twice, canceling out his 15 yards rushing, although he did score a touchdown on the ground. Epperly by no means had a bad game, but San Diego was able to disrupt his much-lauded rhythm in a way that few teams have in the past. Continue reading

Women’s Lacrosse, the Top Ivy Seed, Falls to Penn State Despite High-Scoring Finish

Sarah Lloyd ’14 scored four of Princeton’s 12 goals in the loss to Penn State. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Sarah Lloyd ’14 scored four of Princeton’s 12 goals in the loss to Penn State. (Office of Athletic Communications)

The women’s lacrosse team lost by one to Penn State Saturday, scoring eight second-half goals that may prove more important in the long run than the out-of-conference loss.

The Tigers would no doubt have preferred to win their regular-season finale, but their record — 10-5 overall, 6-1 Ivy League — is probably a considerable comfort. And entering the postseason with the offense in sync is a good sign for Princeton, which guaranteed at least a share of the Ivy title with an April 16 defeat of Penn and locked up the regular-season crown with an April 19 win over Dartmouth.

Princeton has lost just one league game — in overtime to Brown in early March — and the top-seeded Tigers will host the Ivy tournament, which begins Friday, May 2.

After a 6-2 stretch over which their worst Ivy performance was a two-point victory, it may have done the Tigers some good to get a wake-up call in University Park. They came in ranked 19th in the country (the Nittany Lions were No. 8), and the first half unfolded as one might have expected given that differential. After trading goals with Penn State for the first fifteen minutes, the Tigers let up five goals while managing just one, midfielder Anya Gersoff’s 20th goal of the season. Continue reading

Pitchers Lead Princeton Baseball to Strong Ivy Start

The big question coming into this baseball season was, “What are they going to do without Zak Hermans ’13 and Mike Ford ’14?” The two pitchers combined for nine wins, 87 strikeouts, and only 22 earned runs over 120 1/3 innings last season with 11 complete games between them. Hitting .320 with 38 RBI, Ford made history by becoming the first player in league history to be named Ivy League Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year.

Pitcher Michael Fagan ’14. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Pitcher Michael Fagan ’14. (Office of Athletic Communications)

When they left, both for professional teams, it looked like Princeton’s pitching was bound to struggle. So far, that hasn’t happened.

Thanks to an influx of young talent for which virtually no adjustment period was necessary, the Tigers have jumped out to a good start in Ivy League play (4-2 after a pair of close losses at Yale Sunday). While the offense has been surprisingly productive early on, the Tigers would not have a winning record in the league without pitching.

When the Tigers mustered just three runs against Brown Saturday, the pressure was on starter Michael Fagan ’14. The veteran lived up to the challenge, allowing two runs on just four hits while fanning 11 Bears. This from a guy who was dogged by control issues for his first three seasons, to the extent that last year I argued that he shouldn’t be in the starting rotation. I take it all back. Fagan’s 3-1 record is the best on the team, and his ERA is a staunch 2.15.  Continue reading

Women’s Basketball Rolls in Final Weekend, Setting Up De Facto Championship Game vs. Penn

Alex Wheatley ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Alex Wheatley ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Nicole Hung ’14 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Nicole Hung ’14 (Office of Athletic Communications)

After taking care of business with two blowout wins this weekend, the women’s basketball team has set the stage for a high-stakes showdown Tuesday night against Penn.

“You always want to have a chance to play for an Ivy League title,” head coach Courtney Banghart said. “And to be able to do that after what this young team has had to go through and all the growing we’ve had to do in a short period of time, it’s really exciting.”

The Tigers, who had just two Ivy League losses over the last four seasons, find themselves in a much tighter title race than they are used to. A loss to Harvard in Jadwin Gymnasium near the start of Ivy play and a March 1 loss to Brown have put them in a tie for first place with the Quakers. Each team has an 11-2 record in the Ancient Eight. Continue reading

Women’s Basketball Sweeps Brown, Yale, Looks Ahead to Key Matchup at Harvard

Though it has won each of its last five games by 11 or more points, the women’s basketball team finds itself in an unusually precarious position going into next weekend. For the first time in recent memory, the Tigers will face a must-win situation in an Ivy League game when they travel to Cambridge on Feb. 22.

Winners of four straight Ivy titles, the Tigers have lost just three league games since the 2009-10 season, all to Harvard. When the Crimson broke their 33-game conference winning streak last season, it was disappointing for Princeton but came late enough in the season that it wasn’t much cause for alarm. The Tigers still had a better record than the Crimson, which came into the game with two losses, and easily did away with their four remaining opponents to win the league.

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Blake Dietrick ’15 (Photo: Courtesy Office of Athletic Communications)

This year, however, a late-season slip-up against Harvard could be fatal to the Tigers’ postseason hopes. On Jan. 31, the Crimson handed the Tigers their first home league loss since 2009 and did so rather convincingly. (Harvard lost at Penn the following night, the Crimson’s only Ivy loss to date; Penn also has one loss, to the Tigers.) Last year’s Princeton-Harvard game in Cambridge was decided by three points — Harvard won by hitting its free throws down the stretch and the game would have gone to overtime if either forward Kristen Helmstetter ’14 or guard Blake Dietrick ’15 had hit the three-pointers they attempted as the clock ran down. Last month in Jadwin Gymnasium, however, it was very much Harvard’s game, with the Crimson going up by as much as 18 and winning 78-68.

Harvard held Helmstetter and Dietrick, who have emerged as the Tigers’ dynamic duo this year, to seven and eight points, respectively. Meanwhile, Harvard guard Christine Clarke had a monster night with 25 points and five rebounds. Clarke’s 16.7 points per game clip is the best in the league, while Dietrick’s 16 puts her at third.

Both players seem set to have another big night next weekend. Clarke has scored 41 points in her last two games, while Dietrick has looked even better. She set a personal best with 27 points against Brown Friday night, but the record did not last long. The next night, as the Tigers put up their highest points total of the season — 96 — against Yale, Dietrick outdid herself with 28 points. She also contributed six assists and six rebounds, and made 50 percent of her shots from beyond the arc.

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Wrestling Returns to Jadwin, Drops Match to Rutgers

Neither the snowstorm nor the onset of winter break prevented a large crowd from trekking to Jadwin Gymnasium Saturday night to see the Princeton wrestling team host Rutgers in what was billed as “a celebration of New Jersey wrestling.” The Tigers fell to the Scarlet Knights, but there were still signs throughout the night that head coach Chris Ayers has his team – which, at 3-1, already has more wins than it did last season – on the right track.

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Adam Krop ’15 (Photo: Office of Athletic Communications)

After a slow start for the Tigers in which Jordan Laster ’17 lost despite escaping a number of tight situations, Adam Krop ’15 brought the crowd to its feet, pinning his opponent in an overpowering display at 141 lbs. and tying the team score. Ayers praised Krop for getting the win after the Tigers lost the match before his at 133 lbs.

“We really thought we were gonna take 133. I think Krop thought that too,” Ayers said. “So for him to come out and ignite things a little bit was what we needed at the time. So he really did his job.”

Krop’s win was especially heartening to Tiger fans given that he had been absent from the mat until quite recently. The knee injury that kept him out for the entire 2012-13 season was just one of several medical issues which have plagued Princeton in the last few years.

In the wake of those injuries, inexperienced wrestlers have been shouldering much of the burden. One example, Abe Ayala ’16, has been proving himself capable all season and did so again Saturday. Wrestling at 165 lbs., Ayala kept his match close with two well-executed escapes and took down his man in the third period to earn a 6-4 win. Though it was too little, too late for Princeton, it gave the crowd much to cheer about.

“Abe’s wrestling well. He’s focused on wrestling and nothing else,” Ayers said. “You can see him out there – he’s made a jump to where he’s not concerned about other things, he’s just trying to score points. That’s it. He’s not thinking about his shape, he’s not thinking that he’s tired, he just keeps wrestling.”

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Talent, Creativity Propel Football to Ivy Title

Tailback Dre Nelson ’16 scored the first of Princeton football’s eight touchdowns against Yale Saturday. The Tigers lined up in what has now become something of a signature formation with three quarterbacks — Quinn Epperly ’15, Connor Michelsen ’15, and Kedric Bostic ’16 — in the backfield. Though each was a threat to run or throw the ball, head coach Bob Surace ’90 and offensive coordinator James Perry were not satisfied with that level of complexity and instead had the ball snapped straight to Nelson. He ran to the outside and went the distance thanks to a block from third-string quarterback Bostic.

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Dre Nelson ’16 weaves through the defense on the first of his two touchdowns against Yale. (Photo: Beverly Schaefer)

Nelson added 35 more yards and another score as the game went on. He was one of four Tigers to run for over 30 yards. That stat, and his run, demonstrate the creativity and resourcefulness that have made the difference between the 1-9 Tigers of two years ago and this year’s Tigers, currently 8-1 and guaranteed at least a share of the Ivy League title.

It’s easy to look at the Tigers and see only Epperly, who is having one of the best seasons of any college quarterback and has set innumerable records. Against Yale, however, Epperly accounted for a relatively low percentage of Princeton’s points — he was responsible for only half the touchdowns. His accuracy was good, but not perfect, giving his receivers ample opportunity to show off their skills. Roman Wilson ’14 had 115 yards and a touchdown, making several catches on the sideline with his feet just barely in bounds. Connor Kelley ’15 showed off his athleticism on a touchdown grab when he had to elevate and out-maneuver a Yale defender. The defender was flagged for interference, but Kelley still made the catch.

Plays like that have lifted the Tigers to heights that didn’t seem possible just two years ago. All the players mentioned above were recruited when the Tigers were at the bottom of the Ivy League standings, yet Surace and Perry managed to attract them and have figured out some very original ways to use them.

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Epperly-to-Wilson Puts Princeton Over the Top, Again

After a storybook comeback in last year’s Harvard game, the Princeton football team seemed to have used up all its luck. As the Tigers dropped three of their next four games, Quinn Epperly ’15’s lob to the end zone, which was caught by Roman Wilson ’14 for the winning touchdown, looked more and more like a fluke. But one year later, on Oct. 26, the Tigers went to Cambridge and proved that they didn’t need luck to take down Harvard — they had the talent.

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Quinn Epperly ’15, show in action against Columbia, continued his remarkable season with a record-setting win at Harvard Oct. 26. To date, he has thrown for 15 touchdowns and run for 11. (Photo: Beverly Schaefer)

This year’s game ended in an almost identical fashion to last year’s. Needing to score, Epperly chucked it into the corner of the end zone and Wilson, with a Crimson player right on him, came down with it. Last year’s score put the Tigers up late in the final quarter of a game that ended 39-34. This year’s touchdown ended the third overtime period in a game that saw Princeton put up 51 points to edge Harvard’s 48.

What was striking about Saturday’s game was how different Princeton’s offense looked this time around. With quarterback Connor Michelsen ’15 sidelined by an injury, it was the first time in Epperly’s college career that he took every snap. Last season, he split time with Michelsen against Harvard, and each had his moments. As the tape of the final touchdown shows, however, Epperly’s pass could just as easily have been one of the worst moments of his season. He was under pressure and threw off the wrong foot, leaving it up to Wilson to get around the defender and make an outstanding catch.

This season, the game-winning touchdown exemplified how far Epperly, and Princeton’s offense, has come. Filled with confidence during his best passing game ever — he broke one school record with 37 completions in the game and another with six passing touchdowns — Epperly faked a quarterback dive, selling it completely, and delivered a perfect throw to his favorite target, Wilson.

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Tires, Weights, and a Common Goal: Wrestling, Men’s Hockey Teams Face Off in Preseason Competition

All was quiet behind Princeton Stadium just after 9 a.m. on Saturday morning until a pack of muscular, orange-and-black-clad men hurtled around the corner towards DeNunzio Pool like it was the running of the bulls. Those students, from the men’s hockey and wrestling teams (clad in orange and black, respectively), were taking part in their third annual strength-and-conditioning competition, held each fall.

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Members of the wrestling team, top, and men’s hockey team, bottom, competed in conditioning races Saturday morning. The event has become an annual tradition for the programs. (Photos: Jackson Dobies ’14)

The event was sparked by a conversation about preseason workouts, between wrestling coach Chris Ayers and hockey coach Bob Prier. They organized a group workout with an element of friendly competition. Each year, the teams’ coaches come up with exercises designed to test the strength of both groups without giving one too much of an advantage.

“Last year the final event was soccer and obviously hockey’s a team sport so they were a lot better at that,” said Max Rogers ’16 of the wrestling team. “[But] this is our year.”

In addition to the opening footrace, this year’s events included a series of relay races. One involved flipping an enormous tire around a cone and back five times, with a different player pushing it each time. In the second, each player had to push a weight-laden sled around a cone and back. The final challenge was a speed-walking relay race, which may sound relatively easy but was not — each walker carried two giant weights.

“We just want to do stuff that requires teamwork and the guys to get after each other, and also that they get pretty tired doing it,” Ayers said.

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Starting pitchers lead baseball to 3-1 opening weekend in Ivy play

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Mike Ford ’14 (Photo: Courtesy Athletic Communications)

After beginning the season with a 2-16 record in nonconference games, Princeton baseball stands at 3-1 following the first weekend of Ivy League competition, in which the Tigers split a doubleheader with Yale and swept another against Brown.

In the early spring, Ivy teams head south to play strong teams and, traditionally, get beaten up, so the sluggish start was not completely unexpected. But the Tigers have a long way to go if they want to improve on last year, when they finished second in the Gehrig Division.

For a team that lost star hitters Matt Bowman ’14 and Sam Mulroy ’12 to the Major League Baseball draft and graduation (then the draft), respectively, the Tigers are not looking bad offensively. Leadoff hitter Alec Keller ‘14 is off to a great start, hitting .355, and Mike Ford ’14 has already knocked in 15 runs.

Defensively, starter Zak Hermans ’13, last year’s Ivy League Pitcher of the Year, is in good form, as is Ford, who emerged from a March that was hellish for many pitchers with a 1.36 ERA. Kevin Link ’13 looks strong after notching his first win in a complete game against Yale.

“Hopefully, you don’t even need to go to the bullpen when they pitch,” head coach Scott Bradley said.

Bradley was commenting on the longevity of his starters, but he touched on a larger issue – the instability of the bullpen. Princeton’s relievers have an average ERA of 9.00. With Bowman in the starting rotation last year, Bradley could expect to go an entire weekend – four games – with maybe four pitching changes. This year’s bullpen may not be able to handle much more than that.

Starter Mike Fagan ‘14 has had a rough spring and lasted just three outs in his start against Yale March 30. He was relieved by Cameron Mingo ’16, a moment which may have been a sign of things to come. Mingo’s ERA sits at 2.78 and he allowed no earned runs in five innings against Yale, striking out four. The Bulldogs got three unearned runs off of him, but of the five pitchers Princeton used Mingo was the only one to record six or more outs.

Bradley has said that he wants to use Mingo as a long reliever, but he also said, “The game is going to dictate what we’re going to do with our bullpen.” The Tigers are going to need every starter to go deep into the game, and it’s looking like that could mean some changes to the starting rotation.

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