When the baseball team finally found a field that wasn’t covered with snow, it was ready to play. After having games against its first three opponents cancelled, the Red scheduled a last minute three-game series against West Virginia at Ernie Shore Field in Winston-Salem, N.C. And for the first time since 1998, the Red started with a 2-1 record after taking two-of-three games from the Mountaineers.
“Everything went really well,” said junior William Pauly. “The offense, defense, and pitching all look good and everyone is contributing and doing their part.”
After traveling over 600 miles just to reach a warm-weather climate suitable for March baseball, the Red did not show any signs of winter sluggishness.
In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Cornell jumped out to early 4-0 lead, thanks to a four-run second inning. The rally began when senior Conor Kelly and Pauly were both hit by pitches and moved up to second and third respectively, by a bunt of the bat of junior Matt Goodson. Following the sacrifice, the Red received three consecutive run-scoring singles by freshman Ry Kagan, sophomore Jim Hyland, and junior Josh Foster.
On the mound, junior Rocky Collis pitched well in his first outing of the spring, allowing three earned runs in five innings of work. However, Collis gave way to Blake Hamilton in the sixth inning, with a 5-4 lead, but the sophomore hurler was unable to hold it.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, after Hamilton had allowed the tying run to cross the plate an inning earlier, West Virginia’s Michael Burger tripled to centerfield with two outs setting up Tyler Kuhn’s RBI single to win it for the Mountaineers.
After the tough loss earlier in the afternoon, Cornell bounced back in the second game with a 7-5 victory. Senior Tad Bardenwerper got the start for the Red and went 7 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and six hits. Fortunately for the Red, this time around, the bullpen was able to hold the lead, as sophomore Jim Hyland picked up a save in his first collegiate pitching appearance.
“[West Virginia] looked like they have a good offense, but our pitchers shut them down,” Pauly said.
Like in game one, the Red used a big four-run rally to fuel the scoring. With two outs in the fourth and a runner on second, junior Seth Gordon singled to plate the first run of the inning. Gordon’s RBI single was followed by two walks, a hit batter, and a two-run single by Pauly that put the Red out in front, 5-0.
“It was a true team effort,” Pauly said. “Everyone did a little bit to help the scoring. We got to their pitchers relatively early in both games and kept chewing away. It was really our pitching and defense that kept us close in both games.”
In the rubber game of the three-game set yesterday, the Red completed a series win with a 6-1 victory over the Mountaineers. While the offense did score six runs, senior starter Dana Gala had no need for the run support. Over his six innings, Gala allowed only one run on three hits, with the lone run coming home on a wild pitch. He was relieved by junior Andrew McEachin, who earned his first career save by throwing three solid innings of one-hit ball.
For the third game in a row, the Cornell offense jumped out to a sizeable early lead. With a 2-1 advantage heading into the fourth inning, the Red plated two more on Gordon’s RBI single and the Mountaineer’s second error of the frame, to seal the win and the series.
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Assistant Sports Editor