March 7, 2011

Baseball Drops Both Weekend Doubleheaders to Rider, UVA

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The Cornell baseball team finished its opening weekend winless after traveling to Charlottesville, Va., for two doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday. The Red (0-4) battled both Rider (3-4) and UVA (12-1) twice — finishing the weekend 5-40 overall in runs.

Friday saw the Red fall, 12-1, to the UVA Cavaliers, with junior infielder Frank Hager collecting two of the seven hits the Red managed during the first double-header. The Rider Broncs, however, were able to completely shut out the Red on Friday, 6-0.

Although the Red managed to get two base runners across the plate during Saturday’s second game versus Rider, the Broncs managed another six run lead — securing the win against Cornell, 8-2. Senior pitcher and designated hitter Mickey Brodsky went 3-7 at the plate during the final game of the weekend — pegging his batting average to .267, the highest among his teammates. His hits for the weekend included a double and an RBI. Brodsky’s success at the plate is not typical for a pitcher — he spent the first three innings pitching to the Bronc’s offense, giving up three earned runs on six hits.

Also making contact for the Red during the second Rider game were freshman outfielder Ben Swinford and junior infielder Marshall Yanzick — each notching two hits Saturday. Four games into the season, the Red currently sports a team batting average of .177 — this is significantly lower than the opponent’s .340 average, which nearly doubles Cornell’s. The weekend also brought some positives for Cornell as freshman first baseman Ryan Plantier — who alternates between both first and third base — hit his first home run for the Red during the game against Rider.

“UVA is definitely going to be a powerhouse team this year,” said senior pitcher and first baseman Jadd Schmeltzer. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they make it to the College World Series this year. Rider is another good team with a lot of strong pitchers — they gave UVA a fight and they also battled against us.”

UVA demonstrated its potential by crushing its opponents in both double headers on Friday and Saturday. The team’s 12-1 record is made even more impressive by the fact that 10 of those games have been played at home — resulting in a 90 percent home field win average, which ranks the team eighth nationally.

Several Cornell baseball players have expressed frustration regarding their inability to practice on their home field due to Ithaca’s current weather conditions. The team has been utilizing the open space of Bartels Hall’s Ramen Room; however, it still faces the challenge of giving its infielders practice with grounders and its outfielders practice with pop-ups.

Schmeltzer, the starting pitcher for Saturday’s game against the Cavaliers, earned three K’s and gave up three walks during his five innings on the mound. Virginia drove in three earned runs on the six hits Schmeltzer gave up. Sophomore right-hander Joe Sinopoli and freshman right-hander Connor Kaufmann finished the game for the Red — giving up the remainder of Virginia’s 14 runs.

“Rider is more of what the competition is going to be like in the Ivy League for our pitchers,” Schmeltzer said.

He goes on to describe the progression that the baseball program has seen while he has been at Cornel.

“This is a veteran team. Everyone on this team has been through an Ivy League championship except for our freshman left-fielder,” Schmeltzer added. “This is an experienced club and it will be a disappointment if we don’t win the Ivy League championship this year.”

The Red will play its next three away games versus Temple, Villanova, and St. Joe’s this weekend in the Philadelphia, Pa. area.

Original Author: Rob Moore