April 13, 2010

Baseball Looks to End Losing Streak

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As it proved last year, the baseball team is definitely capable of digging out of a large hole. Last season, the Red lost six of its first Ivy League games before rebounding to win the conference’s Gehrig division and advance to the conference championship series. However, Cornell may be pressing its luck as the team will need to repeat that performance to have a chance at a conference championship.

In a weekend that was nothing short of disastrous, the Red’s chances to return to the Ivy League playoffs were decimated. Cornell (6-14, 2-6 Ivy) lost four games last weekend –– two each to conference foes Brown and Yale. The Red fell to four games back of first in the Ivy League’s Gehrig division.

“It’s always unfortunate to go 0-4 in a weekend,” said sophomore third baseman Frank Hager. “At the same time, we’re at the same exact spot we were last year. We’re only moving forward; we can’t look back.”

The Red appeared to be in good shape in its first game of the weekend when the team led Yale 2-0 after senior left fielder Kyle Groth’s solo home run.  Junior ace Corey Pappel was on the mound for Cornell and pitched well in the early goings. He hit a rough patch in the fourth inning, however, when three singles, a hit batter and a balk allowed three runs to score. Pappel finished the game with six strikeouts in seven innings of work.

The Red plated a run to tie the game in the fifth inning. Neither team scored again until extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth –– the first frame of bonus baseball during the first game of college doubleheaders, which typically last seven innings –– junior Taylor Wood surrendered a walk-off home run to Yale’s Trygg Larsson-Danforth. That home run, which gave Yale a 4-3 victory, seemed to linger as the Red never recovered during the weekend.

In the follow-up game against Yale, Cornell again took a 2-0 lead early. Yale tied the game in the fifth, only to allow sophomore right fielder Brian Billigen to reclaim the lead for Cornell with an inside-the-park home run. Senior Mickey Brodsky took the hill to start the sixth inning looking to protect the lead, but he was unable to do so. Brodsky allowed five runs in two innings as Cornell fell, 7-5.

On Sunday, the Red took on a hot Brown squad and did nothing to slow down the Bears. Brown began the day on a four-game win streak and cruised to two more victories against Cornell.

In Sunday’s first game, Brown jumped on senior lefty Matt Hill for nine runs in three-plus innings of work. Brown eventually won, 13-6.

In the second game of the day, Brown’s hitting combined with shoddy Cornell defense. The result was an ugly 15-4 defeat at the hands of the Bears.

“We ran into a hot Brown team on Sunday and that’s going to happen throughout the college baseball season, and we played two close games against Yale and they just didn’t go our way,” said senior pitcher Matt Hill.

One bright spot for the Red was freshman infielder Brenton Peters. He finished off a strong weekend by going 4-for-4 with a walk in the finale against Brown. Hager and Brosky also had strong weekends at the plate.

The Red (6-14, 2-6 Ivy) will attempt to snap its current five-game losing streak against LeMoyne this afternoon. Cornell is set to host a doubleheader against the local opponent beginning today at 2 p.m. Last season, the Red defeated LeMoyne, 7-5, in Syracuse. Sophomore Rick Marks will start the opener while Wood will toe the rubber to start the second game.

Original Author: Zack Slabotsky