April 22, 2009

Baseball Splits Twin Bill With Host Siena College

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Yesterday, the baseball team traveled to Loudonville, N.Y., for an afternoon doubleheader against host Siena College. In the opening game, the Red bats caught fire early and continued to torch the Saints’ pitching throughout, carrying the Red to a 15-3 victory. In the second game, Cornell coughed up a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning, as Siena earned a 7-4 win to split the day’s series.
Cornell freshman centerfielder Brian Billigen led off in the first inning of Game 1 with a triple, while senior Nathan Ford and sophomore Jadd Schmeltzer both added a home run in that same opening inning, vaulting the Red to a 4-0 lead.
“We saw what the pitcher had and we just capitalized on what he was throwing,” Schmeltzer said. “When he left his pitches up, we took advantage of it and exploded in that first inning.”
Schmeltzer was happy to be able to contribute to the Red offensive effort with a home run.
“That was my first at-bat in a while,” he said. “I was really focusing in on getting my pitch; I was looking for a fastball. The first pitch was outside and I fouled it off. Next was the slider, but then he finally gave me that fastball. I just unloaded on it and it was a home run.”[img_assist|nid=37092|title=That’s an armful|desc=The baseball team cruised against Siena in Game 1 as the Red offense exploded for 15 runs. However, two innings’ worth of bad luck ended up costing Cornell the nightcap.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The Cornell hitters never looked back, as they drove in runs in six of the game’s seven innings.
Red starting pitcher Matt Hill went five innings and surrendered just three hits to the Saints, while allowing three earned runs. En route to getting the win, Hill struck out four Saints batters and walked five.
“Matt [Hill] threw very well today,” Schmeltzer explained. “He was in control the whole game, it felt like. It looked like he had all of his stuff, and he kept the Siena hitters off-balance.”
Siena pitcher Ryan Poplawski suffered the loss after surrendering eight earned runs in five innings.
In the second leg of the doubleheader, the teams exchanged scoreless innings in both the first and second. However, the Red was once again able to draw first blood, notching three runs in the third inning to open up a 3-0 lead.
“It was just timely hitting,” Schmeltzer said. “We started off really well with our hitting in the first game and we kind of got a little momentum behind us. In that third inning, things just started going our way and we were able to get those three runs.”
After Saints’ pitcher C.J. Sohl loaded the bases, Red senior catcher Adam Jacobs was able to score from third on a passed ball with sophomore Mickey Brodsky at the plate. In that same at-bat, Brodsky belted a single to right-centerfield, bringing Billigen and Ford around to score.
The Red’s lead did not last long, as the Saints’ bats awoke for a four-run fourth inning that put Siena on top, 4-3. The Saints parlayed a fielding error by freshman shortstop Marshall Yanzick, two singles, a fielder’s choice play and a sacrifice fly into a four-run effort.
Cornell actually tied the game back up at four in the top of the fifth inning when freshman Frank Hager singled down the third-base line to bring Yanzick across the plate from second base. However, in the bottom of the inning, the Saints took control of the game. Saints’ third baseman Anthony Giansanti led off the inning by pounding a home run off an offering from sophomore pitcher Dan Lea. Later in the inning, Siena outfielder Eric Mruczek singled to the outfield, driving in second baseman Dan Paolini. In the next at-bat, Lea threw a wild pitch that enabled Kevin Quaranto to come home, extending the Saints’ lead to 7-4.
“A lot of balls that they hit shouldn’t have been hits, but they got lucky and they became hits,” Schmetlzer said. “None of the balls were really hit hard at all, so it was just one of those things where nothing was going our way and it continued going like that. We couldn’t get a call here or there. It was just bad luck, that’s the way to sum it up.”
The scored stayed the same for the remainder of the game, resulting in a split of the doubleheader. Lea got tagged for the loss, despite pitching just one third of an inning.
The Red will be back in action this weekend for a four-game, home and home series with Princeton.
“We are very happy with the way that we have been playing. You take out those two innings, and we pretty much dominated the whole day. That’s what we really need going into this weekend, especially having the division title on the line. We need to keep playing the way we have and we will be fine.”