The baseball team started Ivy League play against division foe Yale on Saturday, losing the first end of a doubleheader to the Bulldogs, 7-2, only to follow up the initial defeat with another loss, 5-3. Despite strong performances by junior shortstop Marshall Yanzick and freshman third baseman Ben Swinford, who both had three hits, Yale’s power at the plate and on the mound proved too much for the struggling Red. On Sunday, the offense finally came alive to earn the Red its first win in Ivy League play, as Cornell split its home series against Brown. After dropping the first game by a narrow margin, 5-2, the Red exploded for a season-best 13 runs for its first victory since March 25, keyed by an eight-run sixth inning, 13-8.
In game one of the series against Yale (12-10, 2-2 Ivy League), senior starting pitcher Jadd Schmeltzer took the loss, giving up five runs on eight hits and five walks. Despite striking out eight batters, Schmeltzer was pulled in the fifth inning after the Bulldogs regained the lead with a sacrifice fly that scored the eventual game-winning run.
Game two proved just as frustrating for the Red as Yale jumped out early, scoring a pair of runs in both the first and second innings to take a commanding lead, 4-0. Although the Red (3-17, 1-3) decreased the deficit to two runs with a homerun over the left field wall by junior outfielder Brian Billigen, Yale never looked back and won the game, 5-3, after Eric Shultz shut the door for his third save of the season.
“The hitting has been there all year,” said sophomore outfielder Spenser Souza, when asked to comment on the team’s recent performance. “We just need to get better at closing games and coming away with wins.”
The Red hoped to implement this strategy when it faced Brown (3-15, 1-3) in a doubleheader on Sunday. In the first game, Cornell took the lead on a double by Billigen that one-hopped the wall in left, who later came around to score the first run of the game. Senior starting pitcher Corey Pappel began to struggle in the seventh inning, giving up a homerun that would ultimately be the difference in the game. The Red went down in order in the bottom of the seventh to close out the inning, as Brown broke the tie and secured the win, 5-2.
The second game against Brown developed much differently and finally showed the raw power that the lineup can produce for the Red. After Brown expanded its lead to 7-5 in the sixth inning, the Cornell offense exploded. The inning began with a single by senior catcher Mike Lopez, followed by a base hit from Yanzick that sent Lopez to third. With runners on the corners and one out, senior first baseman Mickey Brodsky stepped up to the plate and ripped a blast that cleared the batting cages beyond left. This would spark the bats for the Red, who would ultimately score a whopping eight runs in the inning.
“The game against Brown was huge,” Sousa said. “It shows what we can do when all cylinders are running. I really think this could be a turning point for the whole team.”
Cornell closes out the six-game home stand on Wednesday when it plays host to Binghamton in a 3 p.m. contest at Hoy Field.