March 31, 2006

Baseball to Open Ivy Play Against Green, Crimson

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For the first time of the 2006 season, the chalk lines at David F. Hoy Field will be fresh, the dirt watered and home plate brushed clean as the Red (4-9) hosts Dartmouth (3-9) tomorrow and Harvard (3-9-1) for a pair of double-headers against each team.

The confines of the East Hill diamond will be a welcoming sight for the Cornell nine as the team found frequent success at its home park last season, compiling a 9-5 record.

After playing the early part of the season in Pennsylvania and Florida against teams like Villanova, Illinois and Ohio State, the team is prepared to face the five-weekend Ivy slate that lies ahead.

“We obviously have 13 games under out belt,” said head coach Tom Ford. “We didn’t have a midweek game and it would have been nice to have had that, but I think the guys are ready and that they are anxious to get going. As far as our team goes, we’ve been playing and working on the things we have needed to work on. We’ll be ready.”

The Red will look to snap a four-game losing skid tomorrow as the Green comes to town, playing a double-header, of which Game 1 will start at 11:30 p.m. Despite only winning three games on the year, the Green has played a tough string of West Coast teams such as UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly and Gonzaga. Dartmouth currently boasts the Ivy League’s third worse offense, but makes up for the lack of run support with its above average pitching staff. The Green has a total team ERA of 5.90, second only to Princeton’s 4.66 in the ancient eight.

Dartmouth is led by senior pitcher Josh Faiola and junior outfielder Will Bashelor. Faiola was named last week’s Ivy League Pitcher of the Week after his eight-inning, no earned run performance against Cal Poly. The Pueblo, Colo., native has only given up five earned runs in 21 innings of work so far this season. Bashelor has paced the Green offense by batting .349 in 11 games, hitting a home run and knocking in eight RBIs. Bashelor is also one stolen base behind Cornell sophomore Brian Kaufman’s Ivy League leading six.

Harvard comes to East Hill on Sunday in what will be a rematch of last season’s Ivy League Championship Series, which saw the Crimson win both games, 2-0 and 4-2, over the Red. This year has been unkind to the Cambridge squad, as the team has struggled both offensively and in the field in the early going.

The team is led by sophomore third-baseman Steffan Wilson and senior Lance Salsgiver. Wilson, the Ivy League’s Rookie of the Year last season, leads the team with his .344 average. Six of his 11 hits have been doubles. Salsgiver has hit .333 on the season with 11 hits and five walks.

“What’s important is getting a fast start in the league,” Ford said. “We want to really get into action and get a couple of wins because it is a horrible feeling to start slow and then be looking up at everybody in the standings after the first week. The important thing is to realize is that we have a month long league season coming up and every weekend is just as crucial as the next, whether it is the first one or the fifth one.”

Archived article by Tim Kuhls
Sun Assistant Sports Editor