With the end of the Ivy season looming in the distance, the Cornell baseball team (10-19, 6-8 Ivy) did what it had to do in order to stay alive in the Gehrig Division title chase — but barely. By splitting a four-game weekend series against Columbia (14–24, 8–8), the Red left itself four games behind division-leading Princeton going into what could be the final Ivy League weekend of the season. Its opponent for those four games? The Tigers.
Cornell opened this weekend’s play in splendid fashion — with a leadoff round-tripper by junior Andrew Luria. An inning later, he stepped to the plate with one out and the bases loaded. Luria delivered again, blasting a grand slam to left to put the Red ahead 5-0. Cornell struck again with a run in both the fifth and sixth innings. The lead held up until the seventh inning, when the Lions mounted a rally to bring the tally to 7-5. They couldn’t bring the tying run across, however, and the Red walked off with a two-run victory to halt its skid at four games. Junior Brendan McQuaid notched his fifth win of the season to improve his record to a perfect 5-0.
The nightcap proved to be much less friendly to Cornell. The Red trailed 1-0 entering the third inning, but a leadoff shot by senior John Mills evened the score. Junior Justin Irizarry followed with a double. Classmate Vince Santo singled him over to third, and then last week’s Ivy League Player of the Week, Erik Rico, scored Irizarry with a sacrifice fly. The 2-1 lead didn’t hold up long. In the bottom of the third inning, the Columbia hitters caught fire and batted around en route to a seven-run frame. The Lions didn’t let up offensively, driving home eight more runs to seal a 16-3 win. Dan Gala took the loss for Cornell, falling to 0-2.
Yesterday’s action turned up a pair of the most exciting games the Red has played this season. The lead moved back and forth in the opening game, and by the seventh inning, the score was knotted up at four apiece. With two outs in the top of the inning, Rico went yard to give Cornell a 5-4 lead. The Red took the lead into the bottom of the inning but quickly saw it in jeopardy when Columbia loaded the bases with no outs. Senior pitcher David Self managed to escape the jam by turning a game-ending 1-2-3 double play, picking up the win in the process.
In the second game, the lead again see-sawed for the entire game. Cornell owned a 9-6 lead entering the bottom of the ninth. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, the Lions had runners on the corners. The next hitter, Nick Solaro, doubled home one run, and Keith Palmieri followed with a two-run game-tying single. Two batters later, rookie Jorge Livermore finished off the Red with an RBI single to end the game at 10-9, Columbia. Junior John Hardy absorbed the loss for Cornell.
Elsewhere in the Ivy League this weekend, Princeton rebounded after a game one loss to Penn, winning its series with the Quakers, 3-1. The next scheduled match for Cornell will be against Princeton. Assuming the Lions don’t sweep Penn next weekend, the Red will have to sweep the Tigers in order to claim a share of the Gehrig Division crown. However, all that could change for Cornell if an earlier rained out twinbill against Brown is rescheduled. If this is the case, a sweep against Brown will mean that the Red only will have to win three games against Princeton for a share of the division championship.
Archived article by Alex Fineman