The Red dropped a non-conference series for only the second time this season. The squad was defeated by Siena in a doubleheader on Tuesday, 6-2 and 5-4 respectively. Despite the losses, the Red has an important four-game Ivy series with Penn this weekend to prepare for.
The two losses, which came at home, were the Red’s fourth and fifth losses on Hoy field this season, putting it only one game above .500 on home turf.
The Red (25-10-1, 10-2 Ivy League) did not have an answer for Siena’s pitching — as it was one-hit in the first game — the lone single coming off the bat of freshman Kevin Tatum. In the second game, Cornell jumped out to an early 2-0 lead when junior catcher Chris Burke hit a two-run single up the middle with bases loaded in the second inning. The Saints rallied back against junior and senior pitchers Mike Kazley and Patrick Lewicki, making the score 5-4 going into the bottom of the sixth. The Red looked like it was about to stage another comeback in the seventh when senior Frank Hager hit a single to load the bases, but Siena reliever Jim Meindi was able to work out of the jam.
This weekend, the Red will head to Philadelphia, Pa. for its penultimate Ivy League regular season series. The team has played well on the road, sporting an 18-5-1 record. The Quakers (15-17, 6-6) are coming off three losses to Princeton, the second place team in the conference. The Quakers did come away with one win, though — a 5-4 victory in nine innings — and one of their losses to the Tigers was by one run.
“We’re expecting a tough opponent,” said junior infielder Brenton Peters. “We’ve got to go into the series with a lot of confidence.”
The Quakers are led by juniors Greg Zebrack and Ryan Deitrich, who are batting .378 and .333 respectively and have driven in a combined 46 runs on the season. Zebrack is coming off Ivy League Player of the week honors two weeks ago after the Quakers swept Yale and defeated Big East powerhouse Villanova. The junior hit .588 in five games while knocking in ten runs and hitting for the cycle on the week. Senior Vince Voiro leads the staff with a 5-2 record in seven starts and a 2.53 ERA.
The Red, although it dropped mid-week games, has received some honors as well. Sophomore pitcher Connor Kaufmann, who threw a complete game no-hitter earlier in the season, received his second Ivy League Pitcher of the Week honor for his complete game victory against Columbia. Freshman Brian McAfee gave up no runs and only three hits in an eight-inning performance, also against the Lions, earning him the Ivy League Rookie of the Week. Sophomore Chris Cruz–who is hitting .309 and leads the team in slugging percentage at .659–hit his 11th homerun of the season against Columbia, tying him for the program record for homeruns in a season.
“[Cruz] has come up huge in big-time situations,” Peters said. “I’ve never seen somebody with as crazy power as he has.”
After facing off against the Quakers this weekend, the Red will have to prepare for its final Ivy League series against the Princeton Tigers. The series will likely decide the winner of the conference, as the Tigers on the Red’s tail, just one game back in the win column.
“Everyone in our division is right there with us,” Peters said. “It’s probably one of the most competitive [divisions] I’ve seen so far.”