March 16, 2010

Baseball Splits in Season Opener Versus Binghamton

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After 10-0 loss to Dartmouth in the decisive game of last year’s Ivy League Championship Series, there was nothing the Cornell baseball team could do except wait for a chance at redemption in the 2010 season. That opportunity was put on hold for three days in Philadelphia, Pa. when the Red was rained out of a three-game road trip against Villanova and St. Joseph’s.

The team was finally able to take the field for the first time this season in a doubleheader against Binghamton yesterday at Hoy Field. The Red split the twin bill with the Bearcats, losing the first game, 5-3, and then bouncing back to earn a 7-2 victory in the second match.

“We were so happy to have a nice day to play baseball,” said junior starting pitcher Corey Pappel. “We’re really looking forward to having a great season, and hopefully we can have better weather for the rest of the way through.”

The first game of the doubleheader began quietly on the offensive front, with neither team able to score a run through the first three innings. That changed when Binghamton right fielder Peter Bregartner singled in center fielder Henry Dunn, collecting one of his three runs batted in during the first game. That run was the only one charged to Pappel, who lasted five innings, allowing five hits, walking one batter and recording five strikeouts.

“I just tried to go out there and throw strikes, and give the team a chance to win,” Pappel said.

Trailing 5-0 entering the seventh inning — last licks in Ivy League baseball — the Red mounted a comeback, only to fall short after recording three runs in the inning. The Cornell offense finally came alive with runners on the corners after a walk and a fielder’s choice when sophomore shortstop Marshall Yanzick notched his first RBI of the season on a base hit up the middle.

Sophomore right fielder Brian Billigen capped off the Red’s scoring with a two-run triple deep in the gap in left center, which prompted the Bearcats to make a pitching change in favor of Alex Adami, who quickly disposed of senior second baseman Matt Langseth to end the ballgame.

Despite losing its season opener, the Red was able to bounce back in game two of the doubleheader, earning a 7-2 win just minutes after the first game of the twin bill. Even with such a short turnaround, head coach Bill Walkenbach ’98 opted to trot out the same lineup that he used in game one —with the exception of battery mates junior catcher Mike Lopez and junior starting pitcher Taylor Wood.

The combination of Wood and Lopez ultimately proved successful, as the Red starter allowed only two earned runs on six hits and a walk in six innings, striking out three Bearcats in the process.

The middle of the batting order accounted for most of the Cornell’s offense in its first victory of the season, knocking in five of the team’s runs —junior DH Jadd Schmeltzer picked up another RBI, while the other run came as a result of an error by Binghamton.

Senior center fielder Nate David kicked off the scoring for the Red with a solo homerun in the second inning, however that run only stood for two innings when Dunn hit a solo shot of his own to tie the game up at one run apiece. The Red quickly put a three-run rally together after that tying homerun, in a three-hit burst of offense in the bottom of the fourth.

“We played much better just having a game under our belts. Maybe we had some first game jitters [when I pitched],” Pappel said.

Cornell then put another three spot on the board in the fifth, picking up another run scoring hit from senior left fielder Kyle Groth, and an RBI single from David in the process.

Next up for the Red is a three-game road trip in sunny Winter Haven, Fla. where the team takes on Northwestern and Ohio State.

Original Author: Evan Rich