April 2, 2012

BASEBALL | Kaufmann Pitches No-Hitter

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Over the weekend, Cornell hosted Ivy foes Harvard and Dartmouth for two doubleheaders. Cornell split the series, 1-1, with the Crimson on Saturday, before facing off against Dartmouth the next day. The series against the Green was cut short after sophomore pitcher Connor Kaufmann threw the Red’s first no-hitter since April 5, 1989. The second game was postponed due to torrential rain, so the Red wrapped up play against the Green on Monday at noon — claiming both games in the series.

“To be honest I don’t think that the rain out was that much of a factor; a lot of us would have loved to have finished playing yesterday especially after Connor went out and threw such a game in game one against Dartmouth,” said senior captain and catcher Brandon Lee. “It’s a baseball kind of thing where you just go game to game and anything can happen. I am just excited we went out and turned out the win today.”

In the series opener against Dartmouth (4-12, 1-2 Ivy League) on Sunday, the Red (16-5-1, 3-1) recorded the attention-grabbing 2-0 no-hitter victory. The game was the first no-hitter for the Red since April 5, 1989, when it beat Rochester in a similar seven-inning fashion. Kaufmann settled for two walks, while striking out four  Green players after facing the minimum 21 batters.

Cornell took the lead in the second inning of the contest as a result of a two-out double from Lee. The senior moved to third on a wild pitch, before scoring on a single by sophomore Ben Swinford. Senior Frank Hager gave the Red its other run of the day with a line-drive home run over the left-field fence – his first of the season.

Lee said he was satisfied with the weekend’s results.

“The whole weekend went very well for us – we are happy with the wins,” he said. “But, the rest of the division did well and it’s going to be extremely competitive this year. … We lost a tough one in the first one, but we responded well by coming back and getting three wins.”

The weekend began on a sour note as Harvard (3-17, 1-1) overtook the Red in the first game on Saturday, 6-2. Harvard’s pitcher Brent Suter threw a solid bout in the opener, giving up only four hits in his seven-inning showing. The Red garnered its only runs in the third and sixth innings, after Harvard grabbed two runs in the top of the first. The second run for the Red came from sophomore Chris Cruz’s team-leading seventh home run of the season, which flew over the fence in right-center field. He was the team’s only multiple-hitter against Suter, leading off the fourth inning with a single. Freshman pitcher Brent Jones suffered his first loss of his collegiate career after pitching a little over five innings and surrendering six runs.

In the second game of the day, Cornell turned the tables on Harvard, finishing the series with a 12-7 win. Freshman pitcher Brian McAfee snatched the victory to improve his record to 3-0 for the season, coming back from a shaky start to finish off the seven innings in four unearned runs. Harvard came out fighting and grabbed a 6-0 lead in the top of the fifth; however, the Red battled back and scored six in the bottom to secure the tie, 6-6. Thanks to a combination of singles and a triple by Swinford, Cornell lifted the score to 9-6 and secured the win.

In the second game of the two part Dartmouth series, the Red finished the series off with a win over the Green, 5-2. Lee went three-for-four with a pair of doubles and Hager grabbed his second homer for the day. Senior starter Rick Marks pitched well into the eighth inning of the game at Hoy Field on Monday. With this win, Cornell is experiencing its best league start under head coach Bill Walkenbach and only the second time since 1994 that the program has won at least three of its first four Ivy games.

Looking ahead, the Red plays a doubleheader away against Canisius College on Wednesday.

“Heading into next weekend we are looking to continue the momentum that we have had all season,” Lee said.

Original Author: Haley Velasco