April 7, 2008

Skid Continues With Four Red Losses

Print More

Is there a worse feeling in baseball than losing a game on a walk-off hit? Perhaps not, but this weekend, the baseball team was forced to deal with this more than once as its losing skid reached seven games with a pair of losses to Brown on Saturday followed by another doubleheader sweep by Yale on Sunday. The Bulldogs prevailed in Game 1, 2-1, on a walk-off homerun and Game 2, 6-5, by pushing two runs across the plate the bottom of the ninth inning.
The weekend got off to an ominous start for the Red on Saturday as Brown (11-13, 4-4 Ivy) jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the home half of the first inning of Game 1.
Cornell (6-15, 0-6) answered in the top of the second with an RBI single by junior shortstop Scott Hardinger and a two-run shot by junior right fielder Kyle Groth to knot the contest at 3-3.
“Once we tied the game I thought we had a good chance,” Groth said. “After that, I thought we were playing well, we just failed to capitalize.”
After Brown answered with a pair of runs in the following frame to take a 5-3 advantage, freshman first baseman Mickey Brodsky crushed his third longball of the year in the fourth inning to cut the Bears’ lead to 5-4.
“We were down early in the game, but we slowly chipped away,” Brodsky said. “They gave us a chance to come back.”[img_assist|nid=29592|title=Swing for the fences|desc=Nathan Ford (27) led the Red in hits during the team’s Game 2 loss to Brown.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
However, despite improved pitching from sophomore ace Matt Hill (3-2, 4.33 ERA), who retired 11 of the next 12 batters, the Red failed to manufacture another run and fell 5-4.
In the nightcap, Brown grabbed an early lead with a five-run explosion in the first frame, capped by junior shortstop Matt Nuzzo’s third homer of the season, which sailed over the centerfield wall.
Groth cranked his second dinger of the doubleheader and third of the season during a two-run third inning for the Red.
“Personally, it was a good day because earlier in the season, I kind of struggled a little bit, but hitting those two home runs really helped out with my confidence,” Groth said. “It was kind of funny because Mickey has been ahead of me with home runs by one. And, I hit one, but then he hit one. And then I hit another to tie him, but he hit one to go ahead. So it was kind of like a competition.”
Although Cornell would slice the Bears’ lead to 7-6 in the fifth inning with a solo shot from senior center fielder Ry Kagan and back-to-back homeruns by junior third sacker Nathan Ford and Brodsky, Brown withstood the Red’s offensive outburst by plating three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“Nate hit a homerun and we talked early this year about going back-to-back, but I guess it was the first time Cornell has done that in a while,” Brodsky said. “That also made it 7-6, so we thought we were going to comeback in that game, too, but we just came up short.”
However, Cornell continued to claw its way back into the game with a run in the top half of the seventh. Brown responded with another insurance run in the eighth inning en route to an 11-7 victory.
On Sunday, a disappointing road trip was punctuated by two heartbreaking losses as Yale (12-16-1, 5-2-1). The Bulldogs won both contests in its last at-bats.
In Game 1, Cornell sent freshman Corey Pappel (2-2, 4.55 ERA) to the mound. The right-hander tossed five innings of four-hit ball, permitting only one earned run while fanning six.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, Jake Doyle scored on a wild pitch to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 advantage.
Perfect through four innings of play, Yale sophomore hurler Chris Finneran walked Brodsky in the fifth frame. Brodsky later came around to score on back-to-back singles by Groth and senior co-captain Jimmy Heinz, knotting the game at one.
However, in the seventh and final inning of the opener, junior catcher Ryan Lavarnway ripped a game-winning blast over the right field porch to give Yale a 2-1 victory. With his 13th longball of the season in 29 games, Lavarnway paces the Ivy League in roundtrippers and set an Ivy League record with 33 career homeruns.
The Red responded positively in the back end of the doubleheader jumping out to a three-run lead in the top of the first inning. Hardinger scored on Ford’s double to right center. Brodsky followed with a single to right, moving Ford to third. The pair later advanced on a passed ball, and Brodsky scooted home on a wild pitch.
“We put up three runs in the top of the first inning of the second game,” Brodsky said. “We’re kind of at a point in our season where it’s just desperation time, so we need to go out there and start winning games. Those [three runs] put us in position, but we failed to capitalize on it later in the game.”
Adding insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings, Cornell entered the bottom of the ninth inning with a 5-4 advantage, but the Bulldogs manufactured the game-tying and game-winning runs with four singles in the ninth inning. Junior Stefan Schropp slapped the two-out, walk-off single to left center to nail down the come-from-behind 6-5 victory for Yale.
“It was tough, especially in the second game because we lost with a lead in the ninth inning,” Groth said. “And, it just hurts to lose like that.”