After winning 2-of-3 against West Virginia in the opening weekend of the season, the baseball team headed to Bradenton, Fla. for a stretch of eight games in as many days. However, while the weather may have been wonderful, the team’s results were not, as the Red (4-7) dropped six of the contests. The squad won both of its games against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but fell once to Illinois State and Northwestern, and twice to both Illinois and Ohio State.
“Our record was not as good as it could have been, but we were pretty much in all of the games,” said junior William Pauly. “We were very competitive and a hit here and a hit there could have changed the games.”
In the first game of the road trip, junior Rocky Collis and sophomore Blake Hamilton combined to throw a two-hitter, but Illinois State pushed across two unearned runs to prevail, 2-1. Collis scattered both hits over his five innings of work, before giving way to Hamilton, who threw three innings of no-hit ball. However, the Cornell offense was sluggish, collecting only three hits and striking out 12 times.
The following day, the Red fell to Northwestern, 8-7, despite jumping out to an early 7-0 lead after two innings. Cornell maintained the seven-run margin entering the sixth, before senior Tad Bardenwerper ran out of gas, as the Wildcats posted a five-run inning. Northwestern added two in the seventh and another in the eighth to capture the victory. Senior Matt Miller went 5-for-5 with one RBI and a run scored.
After letting one slip away against Northwestern, the Red generated a little late-game magic of their own in back-to-back games against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, pulling out a pair of one-run victories. In the first game, freshman Jimmie Heinz scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Cornell an 8-7 win. The run scored when sophomore Jim Hyland’s ground ball was bobbled by the Panthers first baseman. Junior Seth Gordon went 3-for-5 with two runs scored in the win.
In the second game, Cornell plated two runs in the seventh inning and the go-ahead run in the eighth, to earn a 6-5 victory over the Panthers. With two outs and nobody on base in that eighth inning, Miller hit a double to get into scoring position for junior William Pauly, who delivered the game-winning RBI-single.
“As a whole, we did a good job at continuing to keep the pressure on,” Pauly said. “We did not get complacent and went out and competed every inning.”
Unfortunately for the Red, it was unable to build upon its two-game winning streak, dropping four in a row to conclude its road trip. Cornell faced both Illinois and Ohio State twice, losing the games by a combined 45-8 margin.
After Wednesday’s contest against the Fighting Illini was cancelled, Illinois jumped all over the Red on the following day, winning 16-2.
Junior Andrew McEachin got the start, but lasted only three innings, allowing eight earned runs. It did not get any easier on Friday, as Illinois defeated Cornell, 12-0. Illini hurler Jimmy Conroy stifled the Red batters in his six innings of work, as the team was shut out for the first time this season.
“The offense needs to improve and it definitely will with more at bats,” Pauly said.
In the first matchup against the Buckeyes, Cornell kept it close before eventually falling, 6-4. The squad was never able to rebound from a 3-0 first-inning deficit.
On Saturday, Ohio State employed a similar first-inning explosion to put the game of reach, plating seven runs with the help of two Cornell errors. The Buckeyes went on to win, 11-2. Despite the offensive outburst by both the Buckeyes and the Illini, Pauly feels the Red pitching staff did its part during the road trip.
“Even though it did not look good on paper during some of the games, [our pitching] was pretty solid overall,” Pauly said. “There were a lot of routine ground balls finding holes and fly balls dropping in the outfield, and a lot of the balls weren’t hit hard.”
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Assistant Sports Editor