April 9, 2002

Baseball Splits Pair With Dartmouth at Home

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After suffering two defeats to Harvard on Sunday to begin its Ivy League campaign, the Red rebounded in the opener of yesterday’s twin bill versus Dartmouth, winning 3-2 on the strength of senior outfielder Andrew Luria’s sixth-inning, two-run homer. However, a five-run fifth inning by the Green in the second game powered the visitors to an 11-4 victory, leaving Cornell with a split. The Red is 1-3 in Ivy action and 7-14 overall after the doubleheader.

In the opener, Dartmouth jumped out to a second inning 1-0 advantage on a Chris Grimm RBI single, but Cornell managed to knot the game at one in the third when sophomore Dan Baysinger scored on a wild pitch. In the fifth, the Green reclaimed the lead, going ahead 2-1 when Jason DaCosta scored thanks to an Ed Lucas single.

Heading into the bottom of the sixth, Cornell found itself with only six outs left to avoid falling to 0-3 in the Ivy League. Hot hitting Luria stepped to the plate with senior first baseman Flint Foley on first. Initially head coach Tom Ford wanted Luria to bunt Foley over to second. After a wild pitch advanced the runner, Ford took off the bunt sign, allowing the senior tri-captain Luria to swing away. It proved to be the right decision as Luria hammered an opposite field drive over the right field fence, putting the Red ahead for good, 3-2.

“With Flint [Foley] on first, [Luria] was actually going to bunt, but the first pitch got away and Flint moved to second. We took the bunt off and Andrew was trying to go opposite field to advance the runner, and he did. With a homer. A real clutch hit,” Ford said recounting the play.

In addition to Luria’s critical home run, the Red depended on senior Erik Rico’s pitching performance to lead the team to victory. Rico also plays right field and is one of the team’s leading hitters.

“It’s something I like to embrace,” Rico said of his duties on the mound. “I don’t mind the pressure and carrying the team on my back if needed. It definitely felt good to go out and pitch well and earn the win. We definitely needed it.”

While Rico pitched six strong innings to earn his first victory on the season, giving up only two runs on five hits. Junior closer Dave Sharfstein entered the game in the seventh, retiring the side in order. It was the third save on the year for the transfer from York College. Sharfstein has been one of the few bright spots in the bullpen.

“David has done a great job for us. 1-2-3 today. However, getting to him has been a problem. We are still looking for our other guys to be more consistent,” Ford said.

The second game against Dartmouth offered the Red a chance to improve to 2-2 in conference play, and after four innings Cornell was protecting a narrow 1-0 lead. Sophomore starting pitcher Dan Baysinger was cruising on the mound, but a fifth inning error by Foley at first led to five unearned runs, putting Dartmouth ahead 5-1. Extending his hitting streak to 14 games with a two-run double, Luria helped the Red close the gap to 5-3. Dartmouth would score six runs over the last three frames to take the second game of the series, 11-4.

The loss to Dartmouth dropped Cornell to 1-3 on the opening week of Ivy League games at home, disappointing the team.

“We are definitely not where we want to be,” Ford said on behalf of his team. “We look for more than a split at home. We have to make up some ground next weekend on the road. It’s disappointing, but we let two slip away this weekend.”

Though the Red has to wait until Saturday to resume Ivy League play, today it travels to nearby Binghamton University, hoping to improve upon its 7-14 record. Game times are at 1p.m. and 4 p.m.

Archived article by Mark Fetzko