March 27, 2001

Baseball Nearly Stuns Miami

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Even in one of its losses over Spring Break, the baseball team showed how much it’s matured since its ill-fated start during last season.

On its spring recess in 2000, Cornell limped its way to a 1-13 record. But this past week, it returned to Ithaca from its annual foray to Florida with a 4-3 mark. Most notably, the Red matched No. 7 Miami punch-for-punch last Wednesday, slugging it out with the Hurricanes for 10 innings before finally relenting 2-1.

Pitching in his hometown in front of family and friends, senior Erik Rico held Miami to just one run and fanned six in the process. The Hurricanes only pulled through when Jim Burt knocked in Javy Rodriguez on a pinch-hit RBI single in the first frame of extra innings.

“It was a real good experience,” Rico said. “It was great knowing we were going toe-to-toe with them.”

Nick Graham put the Red on the scoreboard when he smashed a solo homerun in the second.

Despite Miami’s national standing — it won the NCAA crown in 1999 — Rico believes the Red could have turned the tables on the Hurricanes.

“We had so many opportunities to win,” he said. “We just didn’t do the little things well.”

One of those chances came in the ninth. Raul Gomez was in scoring position on second with no outs, but he was left stranded as the Hurricanes used a pair of strikeouts to escape any damage.

Cornell did defeat Northeastern, Bloomfield, Hartford, and Drexel over the break while it also fell to Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Stony Brook.

After last year’s Spring Break debacle, the Red’s performance this season will undoubtedly add a spring to its step when the Ivy League season begins this weekend.

Rico attributes this year’s success to an air of confidence that the team is sporting.

“We weren’t sacrificial lambs,” Rico said of the Red’s game against Miami. “I’ve never seen a team like this before.”

Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj