April 8, 2005

Baseball Takes on League Opponents

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Like a mouse in a spinning wheel or Tommy Lasorda on a treadmill, the Cornell baseball team might feel like it has been running in place recently. In its opening pair of doubleheaders this week, the Red added two wins and two losses to the team’s record, including a split with Ivy foe Yale. However, for head coach Tom Ford and the rest of the squad, the positives gained — in both victory and defeat — are critical learning experiences.

“We’re certainly happy we didn’t get swept,” Ford said. “We showed a lot of character in the games we won.”

This weekend, Cornell (6-9, 1-1 Ivy) faces its first league challenges away from the confines of Hoy Field in Red Rolfe Division foes Harvard and Dartmouth. Tomorrow, the Red heads to Boston for a doubleheader at O’Donnell Field in its first meeting with the Crimson (11-7, 4-0 Ivy) before traveling to Hanover, N.H. to meet the powerful Green (5-9, 2-2 Ivy) in a doubleheader at Red Rolfe Field.

“Both teams are going to be very strong,” Ford said. “It’s going to be a matter of us making our pitches and focusing on answering when the other teams score runs.”

After dropping its first league contest of the season to Yale on Tuesday, Cornell rebounded to take the second game of the doubleheader in extra innings, evening its Ivy record. On Wednesday, the Red again posted a dramatic victory coupled with a lopsided loss during its doubleheader with Binghamton.

Over the four-game midweek set, the Red received consistent production at the plate from rookie Brain Kaufman (5-for-12, one RBI, one run scored) and junior second baseman Seth Gordon (5-for-15, one RBI, one run scored). Senior shortstop Matt Miller also slugged the squad’s first home run of the year in Cornell’s 11-2 loss to Yale.

On the mound, the Red’s starters experienced mixed results. Junior college transfer Andrew McEachin tossed a gem against Binghamton on Wednesday, earning a complete-game victory, allowing only two earned runs. The day before, sophomore Jim Hyland posted two critical innings of scoreless relief in Cornell’s 10-inning victory over Yale. And despite a few rough outings, the remainder of the staff is poised for a resurgent weekend on the road.

“We played very good defense and had great pitching in the games we won,” Ford said. “We want to keep doing that [this weekend].”

The Crimson will be looking to extend its four-game Ivy unbeaten streak when the Red arrives for the doubleheader tomorrow. At the plate, Harvard is led by the power-hitting duo of corner infielders Josh Klimkiewicz and Steffan Wilson. Klimkeiwicz is hitting .368 over 18 games with three home runs and 15 RBI. Wilson has popped five homers in 17 games and boasts a team-high 21 RBI.

The Red’s pitchers will also be on the lookout for junior Zak Farkes, a booming slugger who has seen limited time in 2005. Farkes is currently Harvard’s career home run leader. “Farkes is a very strong player with some pop at the plate,” Ford said. “He can do some real damage.”

Third baseman Jeff Speights is dominating most of Dartmouth’s offensive categories, hitting .415 with ten doubles and 16 RBI. On the mound, Cornell may face rookie lefty Russell Young (2-0), who has recorded a 3.12 ERA with seven strikeouts in three appearances this season. However, like any other weekend on the road, the Red is focused on taking the games one at a time.

“We really don’t look past the first game,” Ford said. “Right now our goal is to win the first game and whatever happens next we will prepare for then.”

Archived article by Kyle Sheahen
Sun Senior Editor