April 14, 2006
Former Minnesota Twins manager Gene Mauch once said, “Losing streaks are funny. If you lose in the beginning it’s a bad start, if you lose in the middle you’re in a slump, and if you lose late you’re choking.”
Depending on which way you look at it, the baseball team (5-19, 1-7 Ivy) looks to end a bad start or a prolonged slump this weekend, as it takes on rival Penn (9-21, 4-8) in a four-game series tomorrow and Sunday in Philadelphia. The Red is currently in the midst of a10-game losing steak, which includes two close 5-4 extra-inning losses last weekend against Ivy foes Yale and Brown.
“We’ve got to get a result, maybe even more than one result,” said head coach Tom Ford. “I’m more concerned with our approach than who we’re playing and that’s the way we’re going to go into this weekend. We have to tighten up the defense a little bit, we have to pitch better and we have to swing the bats better. We’ve just got to get to playing winning baseball. We have to do the things we have to do to win.”
Despite the Red’s longest double-digit losing streak since the 2003-04 campaign, the Red can still makes waves in the Gehrig Division by winning a majority of its upcoming conference games, starting with Penn this weekend. The feat should be no intimidating task for the Red, as it swept last season’s four-game series against the Quakers en route to posting a 6-2 Ivy record down the stretch.
“It’s in the back of all of our minds,” Ford said. “We probably don’t deserve to be in it, but if you look at last year we were 1-5 at this point in the season and then we just went on a roll. We said the same thing last year, in that we probably didn’t deserve to be there, but we took advantage of it. Again this year, it’s a huge opportunity for us. We look at it as everybody else has messed it up, so let’s get at it and let’s get playing.”
After facing the Ivy League’s top competition in Harvard, Yale and Brown, along with a polished LeMoyne squad in recent weeks, the Quakers will be a welcoming sight for Red – Penn currently is the bottom-feeder of the Ivies in both team pitching (7.93 ERA) and team defense (.927). The only problem is that the Red is currently last in team hitting with a team batting average of .235, something it will look to improve on this weekend.
Leading the Red on the diamond will be sophomore Brian Kaufman and freshman Brant McKown. Kaufman found his stroke this past Tuesday in Game 2 against LeMoyne, going 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. The two-sport athlete McKown – a safety on the football team – leads the team in batting average with his .307 hitting percentage. Senior co-captain Seth Gordon collected a single in a 1-for-2 effort in Game 2 against LeMoyne, and looks to break out of a slump in which he has hit .212 in the early going.
Penn is led by Josh Corn and Joey Boaen. Corn is currently ninth in the conference with his .359 batting average, while Boaen is the ultimate compliment, as he leads the Ivy League in triples (3) and runs scored (29) while coming in second with 38 hits.
Senior Rocky Collis will get the nod in Game 1 for Cornell, while sophomore Bryce Klinesteker will start Game 2. Collis is currently 1-1 on the season and has accumulated a team leading 3.46 ERA. Klinesteker is 0-1 on the year with a 6.55 ERA, although batters have only hit .273 against the righthander.
Archived article by Tim Kuhls Sun Assistant Sports Editor
April 14, 2006
With double-headers on the road at Penn (14-20, 2-4 Ivy) tomorrow and Princeton (20-9, 6-0) on Sunday, the softball team will have a chance to move to first place in the Ivy League. However, the Red (18-17, 3-1) will have to find its way to the top without its offensive sparkplug, sophomore Ashley Wolf.
Wolf took a hard pitch off her wrist in Game 1 of a double-header against Canisius on Tuesday and did not return for the nightcap. X-rays later revealed that Wolf had indeed broken her left wrist, and will be sidelined for the rest of the season. Wolf, who had been enjoying a sensational season for the Red, led the team in batting average (.411), hits, runs, stolen bases and doubles, and had just been named Ivy League Player of the Week. Wolf earned the award on the strength of her 16-for-25 (.640) outburst, including six RBIs and a home run.
“She’ll be out for the year. We can’t make it into too big a factor, because we’ve got games to play, but any time you lose a player who can hit, field and run like that, its going to sting. But we are going to have to move on,” said head coach Dick Blood.
As a result of Wolf’s absence, Blood will be forced to tinker with his lineup.
“We’re experimenting with a couple of things, we may go with [freshman] Hailey Mirrer, a slapper, at the top of the lineup, or we may go with [sophomore Jenna] Campagnolo in the leadoff spot,” Blood said.
After starting off its Ivy slate with a 3-1 homestand last weekend, Cornell was plagued by inconsistency once more as it split a pair of road games with Canisius on Tuesday. The Red dropped Game 1, 7-0, before rebounding with a 3-0 win in Game 2.
Without Wolf, the Red will need others to step up and fill the void, including freshman slugger Meghan Risica, who leads the team in home runs (four) and RBI (19).
On the mound, the Red will turn to the familiar trio of sophomore Jenn Meunier, senior Whitney Smith and freshman Hailey Mirrer. With a 2.59 team ERA, the Red has been able to rely on strong pitching of late and will rely on its hurlers to shut down opposing offenses.
Penn boasts an explosive attack, with four players batting over .340. Led by sophomore shortstop Christina Khosravi, who is hitting at a .430 clip, the Quakers can put up runs in a hurry. The Penn pitching, however, is suspect, with a 4.66 team ERA.
“Penn has a potent offense. They are just crushing it, and can knock the ball around. But we should be able to take advantage of their pitchers,” Blood said.
Princeton currently leads the Ivy League rankings and will pose a tough test for the Red. Boasting the best pitching staff in the Ivy League, with a 1.59 team ERA, the Tigers will not give away any easy runs. Led by senior Erin Snyder, who holds the Tigers record for most all-time strikeouts, the Princeton pitching can bring it. Snyder is 10-3 on the year with a 0.78 ERA. Snyder can also pick it at the plate, with a .308 batting average. She is one of five Tigers to hit over .300 to this point in the season.
“It’s a tough task, but we are going to need our pitchers to hold the fort. They beat Brown, and put a whipping on Yale. They are a tough team,” Blood said.
Archived article by Jeremy DruckerSun Staff Writer