April 14, 2006

Baseball Looks to End 10-Game Skid

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Former Minnesota Twins manager Gene Mauch once said, “Losing streaks are funny. If you lose in the beginning it’s a bad start, if you lose in the middle you’re in a slump, and if you lose late you’re choking.”

Depending on which way you look at it, the baseball team (5-19, 1-7 Ivy) looks to end a bad start or a prolonged slump this weekend, as it takes on rival Penn (9-21, 4-8) in a four-game series tomorrow and Sunday in Philadelphia. The Red is currently in the midst of a10-game losing steak, which includes two close 5-4 extra-inning losses last weekend against Ivy foes Yale and Brown.

“We’ve got to get a result, maybe even more than one result,” said head coach Tom Ford. “I’m more concerned with our approach than who we’re playing and that’s the way we’re going to go into this weekend. We have to tighten up the defense a little bit, we have to pitch better and we have to swing the bats better. We’ve just got to get to playing winning baseball. We have to do the things we have to do to win.”

Despite the Red’s longest double-digit losing streak since the 2003-04 campaign, the Red can still makes waves in the Gehrig Division by winning a majority of its upcoming conference games, starting with Penn this weekend. The feat should be no intimidating task for the Red, as it swept last season’s four-game series against the Quakers en route to posting a 6-2 Ivy record down the stretch.

“It’s in the back of all of our minds,” Ford said. “We probably don’t deserve to be in it, but if you look at last year we were 1-5 at this point in the season and then we just went on a roll. We said the same thing last year, in that we probably didn’t deserve to be there, but we took advantage of it. Again this year, it’s a huge opportunity for us. We look at it as everybody else has messed it up, so let’s get at it and let’s get playing.”

After facing the Ivy League’s top competition in Harvard, Yale and Brown, along with a polished LeMoyne squad in recent weeks, the Quakers will be a welcoming sight for Red – Penn currently is the bottom-feeder of the Ivies in both team pitching (7.93 ERA) and team defense (.927). The only problem is that the Red is currently last in team hitting with a team batting average of .235, something it will look to improve on this weekend.

Leading the Red on the diamond will be sophomore Brian Kaufman and freshman Brant McKown. Kaufman found his stroke this past Tuesday in Game 2 against LeMoyne, going 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. The two-sport athlete McKown – a safety on the football team – leads the team in batting average with his .307 hitting percentage. Senior co-captain Seth Gordon collected a single in a 1-for-2 effort in Game 2 against LeMoyne, and looks to break out of a slump in which he has hit .212 in the early going.

Penn is led by Josh Corn and Joey Boaen. Corn is currently ninth in the conference with his .359 batting average, while Boaen is the ultimate compliment, as he leads the Ivy League in triples (3) and runs scored (29) while coming in second with 38 hits.

Senior Rocky Collis will get the nod in Game 1 for Cornell, while sophomore Bryce Klinesteker will start Game 2. Collis is currently 1-1 on the season and has accumulated a team leading 3.46 ERA. Klinesteker is 0-1 on the year with a 6.55 ERA, although batters have only hit .273 against the righthander.

Archived article by Tim Kuhls
Sun Assistant Sports Editor