April 23, 2007

Baseball Drops Three, Wins One

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With the Red trailing 6-4 heading into the top of the sixth yesterday, the possibility of a sweep and a four-loss weekend seemed very real. Cornell (13-19, 6-8 Ivy) remained unfazed, however, and rallied to score five runs over the final four innings — including the game winning runs in the ninth — to break the tie and complete the comeback, as the Red salvaged one win from the road series with Columbia.
“It was pretty disappointing. We went into the weekend hoping that we could win the series or even sweep and we didn’t execute,” said junior center fielder Brian Kaufman. “It was good for us to get a win and we finally played like we know we can play. We swung the bat better, we pitched better and we played in the field better. It was good to get that win to reinforce the thought that we can win — it was important not to get swept.”
The Lions (15-23-1, 10-10) received strong pitching on Saturday, as its starters each recorded complete games en route to wins of 7-3 and 5-0.
“They made their pitches when they needed to make them,” Kaufman said. “Neither one has unbelievable stuff; we didn’t hit like we should and they took advantage.”
Columbia picked up right where it left off yesterday, as it won Game 1, 5-2, before falling to the Red in the second game, giving the Red a disappointing 1-3 record for the weekend. The lone win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Red and a seven-game skid against Ivy foes. Cornell now sits in last place of the Gehrig division, three games behind first place Penn, with just six games remaining before the playoffs.
The Red opened the weekend with a bang, scoring three runs in the first inning of game one as, with the bases loaded and one-out, freshman Justin Milo picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice. Sophomore Brant McKown was then hit by a pitch, after which senior Kaleb Hutchinson connected on a RBI single to give the Red a 3-0 lead.
Unfortunately for Cornell, that was the only offense of the day. Columbia starter Bill Purdy rebounded, allowing just two hits in the rest of the game. The Lions added two runs in the third, three in the fourth and two more in the fifth. The Red pitching was only partly to blame, however, as Cornell made five errors in the game —only three of the runs scored were earned.
Cornell ran into another hot pitcher in Game 2, as junior John Baumann pitched all nine innings, allowing seven hits while striking out five. Milo continued to find success at the plate, leading the Red with three hits, including two doubles. Junior Walker Toma took the loss, allowing seven runs over 5.2 innings as the Red fell 5-0.
In yesterday’s opener, Cornell’s defense faltered yet again, as the Red committed four errors, which would lead to two unearned runs in the 5-2 defeat.
“We did not play defense very well,” Kaufman said. “We didn’t make routine plays and we didn’t make any great ones either. We are kind of spoiled here at Cornell by playing on turf and playing on really hard ground was something that we hadn’t done in a while.”
After sophomore Jimmy Heinz gave the Red a 1-0 lead in the third inning with an RBI single, Columbia came back with a pair of runs in the fourth. Sophomore Kyle Groth tied the game for the Red in the fourth with an RBI single, but the Lions responded in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs, including the game winner on a leadoff home run. Freshman Tony Bertucci took the loss for Cornell, allowing three runs earned runs through five innings of work.
The bats heated up for the Red in the second game, however, as Cornell scored runs in six of the nine innings. Freshman Dave Rochefort started for the Red and allowed four runs on four innings. Senior Blake Hamilton would earn after coming in and pitching three scoreless innings to end the game.
Junior Adam Jacobs led the Red’s offensive outburst, cracking three hits and two RBI, while Heinz added two RBI on two hits, including a leadoff home run to tie the game in the seventh inning.