April 1, 2008

Disappointing Pitching Dooms Cornell in Sweep

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While the weather outside was frightful, the play on the field was not so delightful for Cornell baseball. Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader against Harvard was postponed due to a post-Easter snowstorm Thursday night. On Sunday, the Red proved to be generous hosts, yielding 29 runs in two games to the visiting Dartmouth lineup — losing 11-1 in game one and dropping an 18-11 slugfest in the nightcap.
“It’s tough when they throw that knock out punch early in both games and you get down,” said head coach Tom Ford. “In the first game, we just didn’t respond. We had a couple opportunities to make it close, but we couldn’t pull it out. They came out of the gate real strong and we just didn’t have an answer.”
The Green (10-7, 4-0 Ivy) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning when sophomore designated hitter James Wren cracked a two-out, three-run triple. In his home debut for the Red (6-10, 0-2 Ivy), freshman right-handed pitcher Corey Pappel (2-2, 4.08 ERA) responded with a scoreless second inning after a shaky first. Junior first baseman Michael Pagliarulo scored a two-run shot in the third to make it a 5-0 game.
“In the first inning they had the lead off guy get on,” Pappel said. “Then, I just ended up walking the next two batters, which is my fault. It’s a tough thing when you’re pitching and they keep scoring runs. You don’t like to see that happen. They got some clutch hits in those scenarios.”

[img_assist|nid=29343|title=Big C|desc=Cornell was defeated handily this weekend, dropping its doubleheader with Dartmouth, 11-1 and 18-11, respectively.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Dartmouth manufactured four more insurance runs in the top of the sixth inning with back-to-back RBI singles by freshman Jeff Onstott and senior co-captain Damon Wright, en route to an 11-1 victory.
“Overall they put the bat on the ball really well [Sunday],” Pappel said. “We didn’t have the right plan of attack for a couple of innings. They were just waiting for fastballs and hitting them. We should have probably mixed in some more off speed pitches.”
Sophomore southpaw Robert Young (2-1, 4.33 ERA) went the distance for Dartmouth, permitting only one earned run and five hits while fanning six over the seven-inning contest.
“He was not a very powerful pitcher, but he hit his spots really well,” said junior shortstop Scott Hardinger. “We knew that coming in, but we just didn’t make adjustments quick enough to be able to make the game competitive. He was crafty and really used his off-speed pitches effectively.”
Dartmouth captured another commanding lead early in the second game of the doubleheader with six runs in the first inning off of sophomore pitcher Matt Hill (3-1, 4.30 ERA). The left-handed hurler entered the game sporting the Red’s lowest ERA, but was replaced by freshman Will Keehn after surrendering another four runs in the third frame.
“When you get done with the first game, you kind of reset things and get ready to go after them in the second one,” Ford said. “But, then when they jumped out there again, it kind of put us back on our heels again. It’s kind of tough to come back from that deficit. They beat us to the punch and stayed on top throughout the game.”
Pagliarulo launched his second two-run dinger of the double dip in the top of the first to spark the early rally for the Green. On the day, “Pags” was an impressive six-for-nine with two homeruns, six runs batted in, four runs scored and three walks.
“It’s disheartening to fall behind, but pitchers aren’t always going to have their best game every game, just like hitters might be 0-for-4 one game and then 4-for-4 the next game,” Hardinger said. “So, we can’t expect Corey and Matt to pitch fantastically like they’ve been doing all year. It’s unfortunate that it happened yesterday, but that’s the way it goes. But, we don’t lose any confidence in them because we know the next game they’ll come back and pitch like they can.”
“Dartmouth does swing the bats pretty well, but Corey and Matt definitely had off days,” Ford said. “We get kind of spoiled with them having very consistent outings. I think their location was off for both of them, but Dartmouth’s hitters certainly deserve credit. When Corey and Matt made some mistakes, their hitters did some damage with them, so I think the thing with both of them is just location.”
After Hill left the game in the top of the third inning, Dartmouth sophomore and right fielder Nick Santomauro capped off a nine-run third inning rally with a grand slam over the right field fence, giving the Green a 15-0 advantage. However, the Red clawed and scratched their way back into the game, scoring 10 runs in the last four innings.
“Our coach always stresses that baseball is a funny sport and you’re never out of it,” Hardinger said. “I think in the second game they scored nine runs in an inning, but we scored six runs in an inning, so the games are never out of reach. Our team’s been great all season at being resilient and never conceding the game. [Sunday], we were down 18-3 at one point, but we battled back and scored 11 runs on them.”
A trio of freshman pitchers was called upon to finish the game and proved to be the lone bright spot for the Red.
“It was Taylor Wood’s first outing and he threw the ball pretty well as did Mike Carroll and Mickey Brodsky,” Ford said. “They shut them down for about 4 1/3 innings. That certainly was encouraging.”
Unfortunately, it was just not enough, and the Green extended its winning streak to seven games, moving to number one in the Ivy League standings.