Currently on an 11-game road losing streak, nothing looks better right now to the Cornell baseball team (3-12) than a return back to its home field in Ithaca. The Red will get exactly that wish this weekend, as it prepares to open up its conference schedule with a pair of doubleheaders against Harvard and Dartmouth.
In Cornell’s home opener tomorrow, the Red will play a pair against the Crimson beginning at 11:30 a.m. Harvard, coming off a 4-4 tie at UNC-Greensboro last Wednesday, had a 4-4-1 record heading into last night’s game against Davidson.
Meanwhile, Sunday’s doubleheader, beginning at noon, will feature the Red facing off against a talented Green team that is riding high after winning a three-game series over Northwestern in Florida over Spring Break. Winning two of the three games, Dartmouth ran its record to 7-7 for the season.
Even with the home field advantage, the Red will be up against quite a challenge. The Crimson and the Green have combined to take the last eight Red Rolfe Division championships, including Harvard’s 2002 season in which it also took the Ivy League title.
Cornell, meanwhile, enters the 2004 conference schedule chasing after its first ever Lou Gehrig Division crown as well as its first Ivy League title since 1977. However, even if its pitching and defense come through with the same quality performance that they had in last year’ s conference games, the Red will definitely have to increase its run production to have a shot at the championship.
In the past seven games, Cornell hitters have only been able to push nine runs across the plate — an average of 1.29 per game.
Although production has been down recently, there are still several Big Red batsmen that have put up some impressive numbers this season.
Most notably, senior co-captain Jon Finch, a .272 hitter last year, has paced the Cornell starters with a .388 batting average. Also, Finch has already surpassed his homerun and RBI production from last season, having posted a team leading 11 RBIs and two long balls.
Vanderbilt transfer William Pauly and freshman Kaleb Hutchinson have become nice surprises for the Red. Pauly is batting .312 with five RBI’ s, while Hutchinson owns a .312 batting average and is second on the team with 16 hits, including five doubles.
On the mound, junior Tad Bardenwerper has emerged as the ace pitcher for the Red so far having accumulated 2.18 ERA in over 20 innings of work. After starting the season with an injured non-pitching hand, the southpaw made several appearances from the bullpen before being moved to starter. In his latest outing, Bardenwerper went for seven innings, striking out five, while only giving up only one earned run on four hits against Penn State.
So far, Cornell’s hitting and pitching this season have been fairly lackluster. The Red has managed only a .258 team batting average against opposing pitchers while also giving up nearly eight earned runs a game. Meanwhile, opposing teams have been able to terrorize Red pitchers to the tune of a .325 batting average as well as a 3.28 ERA against Cornell. The Red will look to reverse these trends as it attempts to make a move during the Ivy League portion of the season.
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer