It was a tale of two Cornell teams yesterday afternoon at Hoy Field — and two very discrepant results. In the baseball squad’s midweek doubleheader against visiting LeMoyne, the Red appeared lifeless in the first game, allowing 16 hits en route to a humiliating 14-2 rout. However, an entirely new lineup appeared to take to the diamond in the second contest, a dominant 2-0 victory that ended Cornell’s six-game losing skid.
Senior Conor Kelly anchored the Red’s second-game turnaround, throwing four scoreless innings for his first victory of the season. Sophomore Adam Loeding and senior Tad Bardenwerper cemented the shutout win with three innings of relief, and middle infielders junior Seth Gordon and senior Matt Miller provided all the necessary offense with an RBI apiece. Cornell (7-14, 1-5 Ivy) resumes conference play this weekend at Columbia.
“We bounced back from the loss,” Kelly said. “[LeMoyne] is one of the better hitting teams we play. In the second game, we played like we can — we pitched well and had great defense.”
In a sun-soaked afternoon, junior pitcher Andrew McEachin was roughed up for eight hits and four earned runs over three innings on the mound in the opening game. After a poised first inning in which he struck out two Dolphins, McEachin fell victim to a two-out, five-run rally by LeMoyne in the second inning. Following second baseman Jamie Rose’s two-run double to left field, the Dolphins took advantage of two defensive miscues by the Red and added three more scores.
Cornell sophomore right-hander Kevin Conlin did not fare much better in relief, allowing six earned runs on eight hits — including junior Michael Falasca’s first career homer for in the top of the fourth — over three innings. On the opposite mound, LeMoyne right-hander Craig Soja picked up his second victory of the season with a five-inning, three-strikeout effort.
“I just want for us to play the game it needs to be played,” said Cornell head coach Tom Ford. “We didn’t do that in the first game. I wasn’t pleased with the overall result. It just wasn’t a baseball game.”
A determined Cornell squad evened the series in the nightcap, belting six hits in a game hampered by wind gusts and rapidly dwindling temperatures. Gordon continued his recent torrid pace at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a run, an RBI and a walk, raising his season batting average to .299. Miller’s 1-for-3 batting performance boosted his team-leading average to .348, and freshman centerfielder Brian Kaufman added more luster to his rookie campaign with a hit and a stolen base. The freshman — who drove in both of the Red’s runs with a double in the opening game — is hitting .304 in 21 games this season.
“In the second game, our pitchers shut them down,” Ford said. “Conor hit some good spots and pitched aggressively. [LeMoyne] is solid all the way around – you have to be at your best to beat them.”
Dolphins starter Mike Lewis (0-2) picked up the loss, allowing two earned runs off three hits in four innings of work. LeMoyne first baseman Keith Connors — who went 4-for-6 with five RBI and three runs scored in the first game — was held hitless in the closing game.
“We didn’t put any pressure on them in game two,” said LeMoyne head coach Steve Owens. “We just didn’t get any hits, we didn’t get any line drives. You can’t win games if you don’t hit the ball.”
Not only did the split stall Cornell’s losing streak, it instilled confidence in a squad still hoping to contend for the league title. And with a critical four-game series at Gehrig Division foe Columbia scheduled for this weekend, the Red’s victory over the Dolphins assured the team of its winning potential.
“[The win] is important,” Kelly said. “We need to get the ball rolling and get going down to Columbia on a positive note.”
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen
Sun Senior Editor