April 16, 2003

Baseball Fields Le Moyne After Poor Ivy Weekend

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The baseball team (10-12, 3-5 Ivy) looks to rebound from a disappointing Ivy League weekend when it hosts MAAC opponent Le Moyne College (14-10) today at Hoy Field.

The Red lost three of four games over the weekend, but has won six consecutive games against non-conference competition.

On the other side of the field, Le Moyne is playing some of its best baseball of the season, winning four straight games and 12 of its past 13. The Dolphins erupted for a season-high 14 runs against Iona College in its last game on Sunday, and bring a .283 team batting average into today’s game.

Senior first baseman Mike Pecchia is the catalyst of Le Moyne’s potent offense, leading the Dolphins in almost every major category. Junior shortstop Anthony Aquilino and senior outfielder Eddie Harper provide speed on the base paths for the Dolphins, teaming for 14 stolen bases and 39 runs between them.

Le Moyne’s pitching staff is even more impressive, compiling a 3.60 ERA on the year. Luckily, the Red will not face any of the Dolphin’s top starters, but relief aces Craig Soja and Andy Weimer will be available to come out of the bullpen if needed.

For the Red, sophomore Conor Kelly will get his first opportunity of the season to take the hill as a starter after five relief appearances. The right-hander has had limited chances to pitch this season, and will be tested by the strong Le Moyne lineup.

Offensively, the Red hopes it can duplicate the success it had against Harvard last Sunday, when it dropped the Crimson 12-0. Junior designated hitter Ned VanAllan continues to lead the team in several offensive categories, improving his season totals with an 8-21, two home run, six RBI performance over the past week. Named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for his efforts, VanAllan also became the first Cornell player in head coach Tom Ford’s tenure to record a cycle when he accomplished the feat against the Crimson on Sunday.

“It was really exciting for me,” said VanAllan of his rare achievement. “The hardest part was the triple and I was lucky to get it. The right fielder dove for the ball and it got by him and I made it to third. The cycle is definitely something you need a lot of luck to get.”

The rest of the Red’s lineup has only recently begun to emerge from a prolonged slump. The contributions of sophomore Matt Miller and the trio of juniors Chris Schutt, Dave Bredhoff and Dan Parant helped raise the team’s batting average to .255 over the weekend.

However, the Red’s lineup will be without Parant against the Dolphins due to an injury he sustained to his hand against Dartmouth necessitating six stitches.

Still, the Red is confident that its revamped lineup will have the offensive firepower to compete with the Dolphins despite the absence of its leadoff hitter and starting third baseman. Senior first baseman Jim Jackson will move to third, with freshman Mike Weiss getting the opportunity to start at first.

“Losing Dan is tough, but we have guys who will step up. Mike Weiss did a good job of stepping up over the weekend after Dan got hurt, and Jim Jackson is coming around too,” said Ford.

The game’s first pitch is scheduled for 3:30 PM.

Archived article by Mark Fetzko