April 7, 2006

Baseball to Take On Yale, Brown

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When you’re the New York Yankees, you can afford to drop 13 or 14 games in April and still win your division, but if you’re Cornell, you need every win you can get in early spring.

The baseball team (5-13, Ivy 1-3) will hope to pick up a few wins this weekend, as it heads to New Haven, Conn., tomorrow, for double header against Yale (14-10, Ivy 3-1) and will head East to play Brown (3-13 3-1 Ivy) in Providence, R.I., on Sunday in a second doubleheader.

“They both are very aggressive teams,” said head coach Tom Ford. “They like to play the game like we do if we get going the way we want to – steal some bases, hit-and-runs, and things like that.”

Coming off its first home stand with a disappointing 1-3 record against Dartmouth and Harvard, the Red will look get its Ivy season back on track along the Atlantic Coast. However, the team is just 2-5 when playing in hostile territory.

Cornell will send senior co-captain Rocky Collis to the mound in Game 1 of tomorrow’s matchup against Yale and Klinesteker in Game 2.

The Bulldogs pitching staff has complied a team ERA of 6.48, and is headlined by Chris Wietlispach (3-0) who is tied for first in the Ivy League with 27 strikeouts.

If the Red hopes to get to Yale’s pitchers it will likely have to be early, as close to half of the runs the Bulldogs have allowed this season have come in the fourth through sixth innings.

Furthermore, like Cornell, Yale’s been prone to giving up the early lead allowing 27 runs in the first innings of half its games this year.

“We want to do a better job of coming out right away and scoring some runs and getting ourselves so we can set the tempo of the game,” Ford said. “If they’re a little weaker in the early innings then hopefully that’s to our advantage.”

Offensively, Yale leads the Ivies in runs scored (143) and hits (240). The Bulldogs junior first baseman Marc Sawyer has led the team at the plate since his freshman year. This season he is leading the Ivies in hits (36) and doubles (10). Outfielder Jake Doyle has also provided some clutch hitting for the Bulldogs in the bottom of their order, and is leading the team with 19 RBIs.

Cornell’s will pitch junior Tom Laughlin and sophomore Walker Toma on Sunday against a hard hitting Brown squad. Despite opening the season with 12 straight losses, the Bears have bounce back in Ivy play, taking two from Penn and splitting with Columbia last weekend.

The Bears boast one of the most potent lineups in the Ivy Leagues, leading the Ancient Eight in team batting average (.318) and home runs (17).

“We try not concern ourselves too much with who we’re playing,” Ford said. “We just want to execute our pitches, but it is a challenge down there; it is hitter’s ballpark,

Bryan Tews and Jeff Deitz make up the heart of Brown’s order. The No. 1 and 2 hitters in the league, both are hitting above .400 this season.

“Those two guys we do have to be aware of in the lineup and in certain situations we might have to be a little more careful with them,” Ford said. “But I feel confident that if we pitch to our strengths we’ll be OK.”

A crucial factor in Cornell’s slow start this season has been its lack of consistency at the plate. The Red has scored more than six runs eight times this season, but own just one win when scoring less than six.

Freshman Brant Mckown seems at home in the cleanup spot for the Red. Mckown leads the team in total hits (21), doubles (5), and RBIs (15).

McKown’s double against the Bearcats was one of Cornell’s three hits during its loss to Binghamton on Wednesday, and his RBI-double in Game 1 of the Red’s series with Dartmouth last Saturday proved to be the game winning hit.

“Brant’s right in the middle of the lineup, so he’s a key,” Ford said. “We’d like to get some other guy involved … and start having a little more balance up and down the lineup.”

Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Assistant Sports Editor