Slamming a two-run homer early in the second of two games against the Binghamton Bearcats Tuesday, Erik Rico showed once again why he is the Ivy League Baseball Offensive Player of the Week this week.
“It’s always nice,” Rico said of the honor, but denied that it had any effect on his play against Binghamton, “I had no idea until after the game.”
Rico, being the team player he is, then commented that to win the doubleheader against the Bearcats, the team had worked hard and put in, “a full day’s worth of baseball.”
“I’m just swinging the bat hot right now. There’s not much more than that,” Rico modestly said.
Cornell’s talented lefty earned his award off of last week’s grueling battles with Penn State, Harvard and Dartmouth. Combined, he hit 10 of 17, including two doubles, two triples, and a home run. Over the stretch, he also scored four runs and drove in an additional six. To round out his offensive efforts, Rico also was walked five times, and stole one bag.
In addition, Rico was the winning pitcher in the Red’s first Ivy League win against Dartmouth, as he struck out nine in six innings of work. Rico attributes his success on the mound to two factors; his fastball and his curveball. Being left-handed doesn’t hurt either.
“When you are on the mound, the ball does different things,” said Rico of being a lefty. As far as his two best pitches, he said, “Being able to mix these two up has really helped my performance.”
Rico’s left-handed abilities also contribute to his hitting prowess. Noting that it is harder for opponents to pitch to him, Rico feels that he has an advantage at the plate in seeing the ball better and longer. Indeed, his career efforts indicate that. Rico is currently one triple shy of matching the career record set by Mark Smith ’87.
“It would be nice to get my name in the record book,” Rico said, “but I’d much rather be in there with an Ivy championship.”
Long term, Rico would like to stick with the sport. Already having his plans mapped out, he would like to be drafted after graduation. If that doesn’t work out, though, he would like to sign somewhere as a free agent.
More immediately however, Rico has his sights set on the Ivy League title. When asked how he and the team would achieve this goal, he responded, “one step at a time.”
Archived article by Matt Janiga