With one swing of the bat, Cornell’s baseball team emerged from its doldrums to capture an elusive first win of the season.
Trailing by two runs to host Lafayette (3-4) heading into the top of the seventh inning in the nightcap of a doubleheader, the Red (1-5) looked set to suffer its sixth consecutive loss of 2002. That is, until senior Vince Santo took matters into his own hands. With two out and one on, Santo launched a game-winning home run over the center field wall to earn the Red a split of the doubleheader.
Earlier on Saturday, Cornell had jumped out to a 5-0 lead against Leopards starter James Duer. Senior outfielder Erik Rico led off the third inning with a solo shot to give the Red a seemingly unassailable five run cushion. However, the Leopards responded immediately, rallying for three runs against Red ace Brendan McQuaid in the bottom half of the third.
With Duer settling down after a rocky start, Cornell’s batters were having an increasingly difficult time at the plate. Duer ripped through the Red’s lineup to record eight strikeouts in just five innings before making way to reliever Paul Fischetti.
Catcher Tony Depalo’s sacrifice fly in the fifth extended the lead back to three, but the Leopards again had a reply. Consecutive RBI singles chased McQuaid out of the game, before designated hitter Adam Bucci leveled the score with a sacrifice fly off Cornell reliever Glenn Morris.
An inning later, Lafayette had its first lead of the game when outfielder Jason Moll sent a solo shot to left field. A throwing error allowed another run to score, leaving the Red with it all to do in the top of the seventh. Although the Red managed to get the tying run on base, Fischetti closed the door with two strikeouts to earn the win.
The Red struck early again in the second game, as senior Andrew Luria’s two run blast in the second made it 3-0. However, before Cornell starter Chris Schutt could settle down, he was chased back to the dugout by a five-run inning from the Leopards. Shortstop Jeff Rodgers did the bulk of the damage, with a base-clearing double.
The two sides exchanged a run each, before Depalo’s pinch hit double into left field tied the game at six apiece heading into the bottom of the sixth. Lafayette promptly walked in two more runs with bases loaded, leaving the Red in an identical situation as the first game, trailing 8-6 with three outs to spare.
An RBI ground-out and a sacrifice fly by sophomore David Bredhoff evened the score at eight, setting the stage for Santo’s heroics. The second baseman finished the game 3-4, with three runs batted in and three runs scored to go with his game-winning homer.
There was still a chance for the Leopards to deny Santo and his teammates, but junior reliever David Sharfstein pitched a solid seventh to preserve the win.
A doubleheader scheduled for Sunday was called off, leaving the Red to head into spring break with a 1-5 mark.
Archived article by Soo Kim