April 3, 2009

Baseball Preps For Ivy League Road Trip

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The Red (4-12, 2-2 Ivy) will continue its Ivy League schedule with a road trip this weekend. Cornell will face Harvard in two games tomorrow and then will travel to New Hampshire for a doubleheader against Dartmouth on Sunday.
Beginning tomorrow at noon, the Red will take on host Harvard (4-17, 2-2 Ivy). Last season, the Red won the first half of a doubleheader against Harvard on a walk-off single by current senior shortstop Scott Hardinger. The Red lost a 2-1 contest to the Crimson later that day.
Tomorrow, the Red will send sophomore Jadd Schmeltzer to the mound for its first game.
“I need to be able to control all my pitches,” Schmeltzer said. “I need to make sure my slider –– which has pretty much been my dominant pitch –– is working and keeping them off balance.”
Junior lefty Matt Hill will toe the rubber in the second game.
“I just have to pitch my game,” Hill said. “When I’m focused, motivated, and intense on the mound is when I pitch my best.”
To open its conference schedule a season ago, the Red hosted a doubleheader against Dartmouth. The Green dominated the two games and sent Cornell into a tailspin that would see the Red lose its first six Ivy League games and eventually finish last in the conference. Meanwhile, Dartmouth used the strong start as a springboard to a division win.
This weekend, the Red will travel to Hanover, N.H. in hopes of avenging last season’s losses. The task will be difficult, as Dartmouth (6-9, 4-0 Ivy) is perfect in Ivy competition thus far. The two games are scheduled for noon and 2:30 p.m., respectively. Junior Tony Bertucci and sophomore Mickey Brodsky will be the starting pitchers for the Red. [img_assist|nid=36537|title=All it takes is one good swing|desc=Following its doubleheader split with Yale on Tuesday, Cornell hopes to keep the momentum going when it takes on Harvard and Dartmouth in back-to-back twinbills this weekend.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We really aren’t thinking about last year at all,” said senior catcher Adam Jacobs. “Dartmouth really swung the bat against us last year, but this is a completely different year. We’re going out looking to win as many games as we can. We’re geared up, but we’ve got Harvard first.”
A strong weekend for the Red will go a long way toward putting the team in a strong position in the conference.
“Every game in the Ivy League is important,” Hill said. “The division is really close after one weekend. Each weekend is going to be more important than the last.”
A key for Cornell will be freshman right fielder Brian Billigen. He has stepped in for injured classmate Frank Hager. Billigen is batting .545 in 11 at-bats.
“He’s a fast contact hitter who has gotten his opportunity and has run with it,” Hill said.
Defending Ivy League Champion Columbia faced both Harvard and Dartmouth last week. The Lions won both games against Harvard, but lost its two contests with Dartmouth.
“This weekend is actually one of the most important weekends of the season,” Schmeltzer said. “Columbia played these teams and went 2-2. We need to show Harvard, Dartmouth, Columbia and everyone else in the Ivy League that we’re here to compete.”