April 16, 2001

Baseball Sweeps Saturday; Quakers' Turn Yesterday

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The baseball team (8-15, 4-6 Ivy) had four games against Ivy foe Penn (18-11, 5-7) this weekend and four opportunities to climb out of the Gehrig Division cellar. Entering Friday’s doubleheader, the Red was matched with the Quakers at two games behind Princeton and Columbia, co-leaders of the tightly packed race.

For 24 hours, Cornell was within a game of first place. The Red came up with two wins on Friday, ending a five-game skid. In the opener, the pitching shined for the first time in weeks. Junior Brendan McQuaid went the full seven innings, earning a 5-2 victory. Classmate Erik Rico starred at the plate, going 3-4 including a triple, scoring two runs and knocking in one more.

In the nightcap, Cornell found itself in a bind, down 6-4 after six innings. However, Rico again came through in the clutch with a solo shot to bring the Red within one. An inning later, he had yet another chance, coming to the plate with the bases full. The designated hitter once again put runs on the board, clearing the bases with a double. He later scored on an error to finalize the score of game two at 9-6.

“He did a great job for us. He came through for us in almost every situation,” head coach Tom Ford praised. “Certainly, that’s the way he’s capable of swinging the bat. It was a clutch performance, but obviously a consistent performance as well.”

Sophomore John Hardy picked up the win, throwing 1 1/3 innings of no-hit relief.

The following day, Penn turned to its ace to stop the bleeding. Andrew McCreery, who one week ago no-hit Yale, allowed a run in the first inning on an RBI single by senior co-captain Raul Gomez. However, that was all McCreery would allow. He fanned four batters and allowed just one run on seven hits. Both he and Cornell’s starter, senior co-captain David Self, went the distance in the 6-1 Penn win.

With the opportunity to make the weekend an even 2-2 split, Penn sent its ERA leader, Dan Fitzgerald, to the hill in game two. The Red countered with Rico.

Friday’s hero was unable to take his offensive magic and put it to use on the mound, however, and Rico left the game after just three innings of work with the Quakers ahead, 5-0. Penn’s leading batter, Chris May, did most of the damage with a three-run hit off of the right field foul pole. Freshman Flint Foley drove in Cornell’s only runs of the game with a two-run blast in the sixth. Fitzgerald went all nine innings, picking up a decisive 10-2 Penn victory.

“We did half the job,” Ford said. “We played well yesterday, didn’t play well today, didn’t swing the bats real well today.”

The two Penn starters on Saturday combined for 16 strikeouts in 16 innings, allowing just three runs on 13 hits.

“They did a nice job keeping us off balance. They moved the ball in and out, got their breaking balls over, which certainly gave us some problems,” Ford noted.

Cornell and Penn are still knotted up in the back of the Gehrig Division, three games behind Princeton.

“I’m not really focused on winning the division right now,” Ford commented. “I’m just focused on going into the next league weekend and doing all that we can, and letting everything else take care of itself.”

The Red’s next Ivy action will be this weekend, when it travels to the New York to take on Columbia in a pair of twinbills. In the meantime, Cornell will play a pair of games at LeMoyne tomorrow.

Archived article by Alex Fineman