April 11, 2007

Cornell Outlasts Visiting Bearcats

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On a cold day at Hoy Field, the baseball team received stellar pitching, and three runs in the fourth inning en route to a 3-0 shutout victory over in-state rival Binghamton (10-9, 4-0 America East).
With the Red (12-14, 5-3 Ivy) resting its top starters for this weekend’s games against Gehrig Division rival Penn, freshman Matt Hill got the call. Hill, making the first start of his collegiate career, responded and pitched five strong innings for the Red, allowing just one hit while striking out two. Junior Bryce Klinesteker threw three scoreless innings before senior Blake Hamilton came in to shut the door, earning his third save of the season in the process. The trio combined to hold Binghamton to just two hits.
“Today was definitely an outstanding pitching performance,” said assistant coach Scott Marsh. “I thought all three guys pitched really well. All three threw the ball very well. Matt did a much better job with his offspeed pitches today, which is why I think he had so much success. He had a nice slider going early in the game and was able to keep their hitters off-balance.”
After averaging almost eight runs per game over the weekend, the Red offense was more subdued today, as they scored just the three runs, but with nine hits. With the game scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, junior Brian Kaufman led off the inning with a single, before stealing second. Sophomore Nathan Ford then singled up the middle to score Kaufman and give the Red the lead. Freshman Justin Milo followed with a double down the left field line that scored Ford. Milo would eventually come around to score on sophomore Kyle Groth’s single, giving the Red all the offense they would need for the game.
Ford and Kaufman each finished the game with two hits to lead the Red offensively. While junior Jimmy Heinz was held hitless today, these three players, who hit in spots two through four in the lineup, have together accounted for 46 percent of the team’s RBI on the season and form an indispensable trio in the middle of the lineup.
“The great thing about them is that they all bring something different,” Marsh said. “Jimmy Heinz is a very aggressive hitter; he just walks up there swinging the bat and he’s been locked in lately and is banging the ball all over the park. Nathan is consistent. He puts the bat on the ball, hits the ball hard and gets RBI when he has the opportunity. Kaufman is very patient, works the count, and he is one of the better power hitters in the league too. He combines patience at the plate with speed on the base path. They’re a diverse group, but they can all do what they do well.”
Binghamton managed to put runners on third base on three separate occasions, but each time the Red pitching was more than up to the challenge. In the top of the seventh inning, with runners on second and third and two outs, Klinesteker induced Henry Dunn to ground out, ending the trouble and preserving the shutout.
Freshman Matt Simone took the loss for the Bearcats, allowing three runs in four innings. Classmates Mario Roefaro and Joe Charron shut out the Red the rest of the way, but on this day Binghamton’s offense just couldn’t break through.
While the teams were originally scheduled to play a double-header, the cold weather forced the series to be shortened to just one game.
“It probably caters a little bit more to the pitchers,” Kaufman said. “While it makes it harder for everyone, I think that pitchers have a little bit of an advantage there, especially because we use metal bats which can get very cold.”