March 10, 2003

Baseball Starts Year With Three Losses

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George Mason’s veteran pitching staff silenced Cornell’s bats this weekend, as the Patriots swept the Red in a three-game set, winning by scores of 5-1, 11-4, and 6-2. With the sweep, the Patriots improved to 4-4 on the season, while the Red begins its 2003 season inauspiciously at 0-3.

“We obviously aren’t happy with the three losses, but we’ve got to remember that George Mason is a very good baseball team and it was our first time out,” said head coach Tom Ford.

Cornell’s largely untested lineup struggled to mount scoring opportunities against its Colonial Athletic Association opponent, but the Red did received some promising pitching performances, especially from converted senior closer David Sharfstein (0-1) in Saturday’s opener. The tri-captain limited the Patriots to just four hits in five innings of work, striking out one while walking four.

“We were happy with his performance first time out. He didn’t have his normal command, but he made some tough pitches to keep us close early,” commented Ford.

However, by the time he was relieved by junior Dan Gala, George Mason had already taken a 3-0 lead thanks to single runs in the first, third, and fifth innings. George Mason’s left-handed ace, John Sterling (1-1), was superb throughout, whiffing a career-high ten batsmen over eight innings, allowing only three hits, including sophomore Matt Miller’s RBI single in the eighth. Sterling struck out the first five Cornell batters, retiring 12 straight until junior Glenn Morris broke up his no-hit bid with a fifth inning single. The only other Cornell player with a base hit was junior Ned VanAllan, who also scored the Red’s lone run.

“He [Sterling] was a tough pitcher to face for a first game. He had really good placement on his pitches and was hitting his spots. You have to give him credit, but we just didn’t go out and do a good job being aggressive early in the counts,” said Ford about the Red’s difficulties at the plate.

Junior Chris Schutt (0-1) started Sunday’s opener, giving up five runs on eight hits in five innings of work. He also struck out nine Patriot hitters, leaving the game with Cornell down just 5-3 after five innings. Cornell closed the gap to 5-4 in the sixth before the Patriots’ Kyle Barrett responded with a run-scoring single to extend the lead back to two runs. The game remained close until the bottom of the eighth, when George Mason freshman Nick Prosise slammed a grand slam over the center field wall, putting the game out of reach at 10-4. The first year player went two for five with a game-high five RBIs, adding a RBI single in the third inning that extended George Mason’s early lead.

“He hit a pretty good pitch by Luke Staskal, and it got up into the wind and it just took off. It just barely cleared the center field fence,” said Ford about the grand slam.

The Red’s offense was slightly more effective against game two’s starter, Jake Glanzmann (1-1), but the sophomore did strike out a career-high nine in six innings, surrendering all four Cornell runs on just four hits and five walks. Matt Miller continued his opening series success, opening scoring for the Red with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1 in the third, but the Red’s bats were never able to wrestle the lead from the Patriots.

The Red jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in Sunday’s nightcap on an unearned run when freshman Seth Gordon was hit by a pitch before advancing to second on a botched pickoff attempt, scoring subsequently on Glenn Morris’ two-out single. However, George Mason’s Jason Mills silenced the Red for the better part of the game, retiring ten straight batters before freshman catcher Matt Goodson led off the fifth inning with a solo shot to make it 6-2. Mills (1-0) allowed just two hits in five innings, striking out six.

Cornell’s junior starter Dan Baysinger (0-1) was unable to protect the Red’s early lead, with Jeff Palumbo’s single driving in leadoff batter Matt Cooksey after a game opening double to tie the game at one. Palumbo then scored after Baysinger committed two balks. Overall, Baysinger struggled in his four plus innings of action, allowing six runs on nine hits, including home runs to Nick Shimer and Chris Looze in the third that extended the Patriots’ advantage to 6-1

Cornell looks to regroup next week when it embarks on its annual Spring break trip. The Red will play Big East opponent Virginia Tech in a three-game series before traveling to play Elon College and UNC-Greensboro, heading finally to Delaware for a three game set with Delaware State.

Archived article by Mark Fetzko