April 5, 2007

Red Lose Midweek Contest to LeMoyne

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On a grey and drizzly afternoon at Hoy Field, the LeMoyne Dolphins took a 10-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth and survived a furious Cornell rally to hold onto an 11-8 win. Cornell (9-12, 3-1 Ivy) put together two runs in the eighth and three runs in the ninth before LeMoyne senior closer Ryan Woods, the 2006 MAAC relief pitcher of the year, came in and shut the door on the comeback.
“We get into games and our guys will battle to the end. It’s what we are beginning to expect from our team,” said assistant coach Scott Marsh. “LeMoyne walked a few guys, we got the bats going and did make a comeback at them. But that’s what we expect, because our guys will battle and play hard to the end of the game.”
In a game where Cornell rested its top starters anticipating four weekend Ivy League games, LeMoyne (9-15, 4-2 MAAC) took advantage early and often. Junior shortstop Andy Parrino, who leads the team with an impressive .394 batting average, led off the game with a home run to take an early lead. Junior Bryce Klinesteker, who started the game for the Red, falls to 0-1 with the loss and was chased after just 2.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) in the process.
LeMoyne, which began the season 2-13, has now won seven of its last nine games. With the win, the Dolphins continue its domination over the Red, having won the last seven matches between the schools. While the two teams were originally scheduled to play a double header, the series was shortened by one due to the inclement weather. The second game has been rescheduled for May 2nd.
Junior Jimmy Heinz continued to swing a hot bat for the Red, recording two hits and two RBI, while sophomore Brant McKown made a big contribution off the bench, going 2-for-2 and adding three RBI. However, Cornell’s turnstile of pitchers struggled against a well-balanced Dolphin lineup. After taking Klinesteker out of the game, Cornell coach Tom Ford used six different pitchers down the stretch, none for more than 1.2 innings. Seniors Adam Loeding, Tom Laughlin, Willie Meier and Kaleb Hutchinson, sophomore Stephen Osterer and freshman Matt Hill all saw time on the hill for the Red, providing an opportunity for the Red coaching staff to evaluate its depth in the bullpen.
“We had a few guys who threw the ball well. Meier and Loeding both came in and threw well and Osterer, despite having some control problems, was still throwing some good stuff,” Marsh said. “A couple of the other guys got roughed up a little bit and were leaving the ball up. We didn’t pitch well overall today and LeMoyne is an aggressive swinging team. No one appearance makes or breaks a guy’s season, and while I would have liked to have seen a few guys be more competitive, we still have confidence in our pitching and have every reason to think they’ll throw well this weekend.”
While sophomore Domenic Di Ricco would score to even the score at 1 for the Red in the bottom of the first, the Dolphins added two more in the third and then three more in the fourth, two of them off a two-RBI Parrino triple. Parrino, who would score on a wild pitch, had a great day at the plate, batting 4-5 with 4 RBI and three runs scored.
“He’s a great player,” said junior Brian Kaufman. “I’ve played against him for a few years, even in Summer Ball after my freshman year, and he is a great player. He made the transfer from second base to shortstop just this year, but it looks like he will have opportunities to play after college. He can swing the bat well from both sides of the plate. He’s just a great player.”
After LeMoyne took a 6-1 lead, Cornell added runs in the fifth and seventh innings, while the Dolphins put two more on the board in the sixth. In the top of the eighth, LeMoyne added another two runs to take a 10-3 lead and seemingly put the game out of reach. However, Cornell scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth, as sophomore Nathan Ford doubled home Heinz, before McKown came in to pinch hit and stroked a triple to the right-center gap, scoring Ford.
“There’s nothing harder then coming off the bench not having played, and he did a great job coming in and getting some key hits and driving in some runs,” Kaufman said. “He was a spark coming right off the bench and it was great to see him come on and get some hits.”
LeMoyne added another run in the top of the ninth before the Red made things interesting, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Heinz hit into a fielders choice, scoring freshman Steven Dannaway. Kaufman then walked to load the bases once again, this time for Ford, who struck out. McKown, however, came through with another big hit, a single that scored two. The closer, Ryan Woods (1.82 ERA) however, induced sophomore Scott Hardinger to hit into a fielder’s choice to end the comeback and the game.