May 3, 2002

Baseball Ends Ivy Campaign

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Amid the backdrop of Cornell’s Slope Day festivities, the baseball team enters its final weekend of play, looking to salvage some pride at the end of a disappointing season. The Red (13-28, 4-12 Ivy) takes on division leading Princeton (19-18. 11-5 Ivy) in a doubleheader this afternoon at Hoy Field, before closing out the season with a pair of games on the road against the Tigers.

With only four games remaining on the slate, the Red seems destined to pick up the wooden spoon in the Lou Gehrig Division of the Ivy League. At the other end of the table, Princeton holds on to a two game advantage over Columbia, and needs to win three out of four against Cornell to clinch its an Ivy League Championship.

“We’re gonna try to keep playing like we’ve been playing,” said head coach Tom Ford. “We just wanna keep building on the positives.”

In 2001, the Tigers took three of four from the Red, including a sweep in the first two games in Princeton. A repeat performance would go a long way in clinching a seventh consecutive Lou Gehrig division title. As in 2001, the Tigers’ success has been built on solid pitching and smart base-running. While Ryan Quillian (5.85 ERA, 2-4) has struggled to recapture the form that made him the league’s Pitcher of the Year, the Tigers have found a gem in freshman starter Ross Ohlendorf (3.32 ERA, 5-2). Captain Pat Boran will be the primary threat at the plate, having driven in a team-high 31 runs.

“They’re a lot better than their statistics would lead you to believe,” noted Ford. “They’re very solid up and down — they play baseball the way it should be played.”

After a horrific 11 game slide that grounded Cornell’s Ivy League aspirations, the Red has recovered to take three of its last five, including a split in last weekend’s series against Columbia.

“We just never gave ourselves a chance,” admitted Ford. “We were ready to get going and then we never really got going.”

When the final out is registered at Princeton on Sunday afternoon, the curtain will fall on the careers of seven Cornell players, including the current Ivy League Player of the Week Rico. An All-Ivy First Team selection in 2001, Rico is on the verge of one of the most spectacular seasons in Cornell’s baseball history. He currently leads the team in batting (.381), home runs (11), RBI (40), triples (8), and is virtually assured of another All-Ivy selection.

“We’re not gonna have another player like Erik for a few years, if ever,” said Ford.

Rico will be joined at graduation by classmates Javier Alfaro, Flint Foley, Andrew Luria, Justin Irizarry, Brendan McQuaid, and Vince Santo.

Archived article by Soo Kim