March 5, 2009

Baseball Walks Off the Hill

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The Red hopes to keep their early win-streak alive as they travel to Villanova, P.A., on Sunday to take on the Wildcats in a short two-game series.
Cornell opened-up its season with a convincing sweep of Navy in Annapolis, M.D., in a two-game set that was cut in half by inclement weather.
The Wildcats, meanwhile, have had a rough opening to their spring, coming-in to this weekend’s matchup with a 2-6 record, having faced the likes of L.S.U. and N.C. State.
In the first games under the new baseball head coach Bill Walkenback, the Red combined dominant pitching and timely hitting to pick-up the two victories. In the first game, junior southpaw Matt Hill blanked the Midshipmen for seven innings, while solid offensive performances in the middle of the line-up by senior third-basemen Nathan Ford and junior second-basemen Matt Langseth led the Red to a tight, 5-4 win.
[img_assist|nid=35826|title=South paw|desc=Junior pitcher Matt Hill (left) was named Ivy Pitcher of the week this past week.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Hill’s seven inning, two-hit, three-strikeout win was strong enough to win him Ivy League Pitcher of the Week honors.
“We’re playing a good brand of baseball right now,” said senior outfielder Dominic Di Riccio. “For the first weekend, it was a really good weekend.”
The Wildcats are headlines by their young freshman third-basemen/outfielder Matt Szczur, who is leading the team with .400 batting average, as well as posting a .400 in slugging. Szczur also has a team-best .516 on-base percentage.
In the team’s most convincing win, a 13-1 domination of NYIT in Palm Beach, FL, the versatile Szczur led-off, reaching base three times, while scoring two and driving-in two runs.
In the start of their season, the Red has four players hitting at least .300, including junior outfielder Nate David, who has reached base on 5-of-7 trips into the batter’s box. Langseth is the two most efficient run producer so far, driving-in three in the two games played.
Although it is early, the team seems to be confident that it has been started on-track for a good season.
“Our team has unbelievable swagger right now,” said Di Riccio. “We take the field right now expecting to win.”
Considering the cancellations of the final two games in Annapolis, it will be more than a week since the team has seen live-game play when it finally takes the field on Sunday. The layover however, does not seem to bother the Red.
“At practice, we’re competing against one another,” said Di Riccio. “We split the team up, and that allows us not to lose that competitive edge. Come Sunday, it’s just different people; it’s like the same competition.”
Although Villanova plays out of the competitive Big East conference, and has already had experience against No. 1 L.S.U., the Red has remained focused on its own game.
“We try not to get caught-up in what the other team does well,” said Di Riccio. “We try and perfect what we do, and that’s what we bring to the field.”
The first pitch of game-one will be at 12:15, while the second game of the one-day doubleheader is set to begin at 2:30.