March 5, 2007

Baseball Starts ’07 Slowly

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The baseball team kicked off its 2007 season with one win in four games against Bucknell this weekend in Philadelphia. On Saturday afternoon, the Red’s offense sputtered and the team dropped a pair of tight games to the Bison, falling 1-0 and 2-1. A day later, Cornell’s offense kicked into gear, splitting the doubleheader with an 8-4 win and an 11-7 loss.

“Overall we’re disappointed with the three losses but we certainly saw some positive things to take away from the weekend,” said head coach Tom Ford. “We had three great pitching efforts by [senior Jim] Hyland, [freshman Tony] Bertucci and [junior Walker] Toma and played some great defense in all four contests.”
[img_assist|nid=21855|title=Let it loose|desc=The men’s baseball team began its 2007 campaign by losing three of its fours games this weekend to Bucknell in Philadelphia.|link=none|align=left|width=78|height=100]
In the first game, senior pitcher Jim Hyland — who was second on the team last year with a 4.35 ERA — hurled an impressive outing despite taking the loss. He threw six innings, giving up only three hits, two walks and one run while striking out four.

“Hyland did a great job on the mound, establishing himself as a power pitcher,” said junior centerfielder Brian Kaufman. “We hope to see a lot more of the same throughout the season.”

The lone run of the game was scored in the bottom of the second inning, when Bucknell senior co-captain Ryan Gryskevicz tripled and scored on an RBI single by junior Ed Rubbo. The pair combined for all of Bucknell’s hits in game one with Gryskevicz going 2-for-3 at the plate and Rubbo 1-for-2.

Yet that was all the offense the Bison would need, as junior Mathew Wilson tossed a complete-game shutout, scattering five hits with no walks and six strikeouts to earn the win (1-1).

In the second game of the doubleheader, Bucknell drew first blood when sophomore Dane Grandizio led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and strolled home on a passed ball. The Red managed to knot the score at 1-1 in the top of the sixth, when sophomore Scott Hardinger reached on a walk and classmate Domenic Di Riccio drove him in with an RBI double.

The score remained tied until the bottom of the ninth when Bucknell freshman Ben Yoder hustled his way to an infield single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third on a ground out. With one out and the bases loaded after two intentional walks, junior Austin Turban drove in Yoder for the winning run.

Red freshman Tony Bertucci had an impressive collegiate debut, throwing eight innings and giving up only one unearned run on four hits with four strikeouts.

“It’s great to have a freshman come in and make an immediate impact,” Kaufman said. “He was a very good complement to Jimmy.”

On Saturday the Red bats awoke from their winter hibernation to the tune of 19 runs, winning the first game 8-4 before falling to the Bison in the second contest 11-7.

In the first game, senior Blake Hamilton would start, but junior Walker Toma worked four-plus innings of scoreless relief to earn the victory. Kaufman, who was a combined 1-7 on Saturday, had three hits for Cornell, including a pair of doubles, three runs and two RBI to lead the offense to its first victory of the season.

“We just came out on Sunday and made an adjustment,” Kaufman said. “I think our lineup is the strongest top-to-bottom it has been since I’ve been here, so it’s not going to be easy to shut us all down.”

The offensive onslaught continued into game two, but Red pitchers could not hold up their end of the bargain as Cornel lost 11-7. Senior Adam Loeding took the loss for the Red, surrendering five runs in relief after Cornell took a 7-6 lead. Sophomore Nathan Ford led the offense with two hits, including a two-run home run and two RBI while Adam Jacobs was a triple short of the cycle with an RBI from his solo shot.

“It was nice to see our bats come alive like that,” Ford said. “We played four competitive games, but obviously we would have liked to come away with more than one win. The big key for us is just to be more consistent.”