With one third of the regular season remaining, the second place men’s baseball team is now focused on riding its momentum and competing with first place Princeton for the Ivy League title.
This end result will not come easily, and the team will have to stay focused on the present if it is to be successful. The Red (12-14, 5-5 Ivy) next has a doubleheader against Dartmouth (11-20, 5-5) this Wednesday at home.
“If we play up to our standard of baseball then we will be able to be competitive day in and day out,” said junior first baseman Cole Rutherford. “This past weekend against Columbia just helped to prove that fact. We had a lot of guys that really stepped up and performed in clutch situations for us, and going forward we need to just continue to play to the standard that we expect of ourselves.”
Rutherford — who led the weekend with 11 hits and seven alone during Sunday’s doubleheader — noted how the team’s improvement in offensive production was key against the Lions.
“This weekend was really just about seeing the ball well and getting some lucky hits,” he said. “It was great to beat Columbia and get back to playing to our standard. We expect to compete and win every game so it felt nice to be back where we expect to be.”
This upcoming doubleheader against the Green will be the first two of six games against Ivy League rivals in the next five days. Sophomore pitcher Peter Lannoo — who tossed 7.2 strong innings in a 4-3 win over the Lions — stressed that the team will have to remain laser-focused throughout the competition.
“With six Ivy games in the next five days, it would be easy to look ahead to future games, but we won’t do that,” he said. “We’ll set our minds in getting game one against Dartmouth, and move from there to the second game, and then after that, the weekend.”
Lannoo also went on to laud his team’s tenacity, but especially not getting overconfident after getting a couple wins under its belt.
“After a series like the one we had last weekend, it would be easy to pat ourselves on the back and lose our competitive edge, but our team isn’t built that way,” Lannoo said. “We have great leadership, by both captains and coaches, to help us stay focused on the job ahead. It is nice, though, to have gained confidence by taking care of business this weekend.”
Rutherford was also happy with the team’s mental toughness up to this point in the season.
“We will continue to compete and be resilient throughout the entire year no matter who we are playing,” he said.
Another key against Columbia, according to Rutherford, was not having to use the bullpen extensively.
“Having [junior pitcher Rob Pannullo] come in and pitch great this week was fantastic especially so soon after ACL surgery,” Rutherford said. “He’s a great addition to our staff. And Pete was able to compete through game four and gave us an amazing outing that enabled us to not have to utilize our bullpen as much and enable us to have some great arms ready to go for Wednesday.”
After Dartmouth, the Red continue Ivy League play with another four-game weekend. This time, though, the Red will travel down to Philadelphia to take on the Quakers.
Currently, the Red sits tied for second with Penn in the Lou Gehrig division. Princeton (17-14, 9-3 Ivy) currently sits on top of the Lou Gehrig division and has an easier schedule than the Red over the rest of the season. However, the Red play the Tigers the weekend of April 29 for a four game series, making it anyone’s division with one third of the season remaining.