Following a promising weekend against Columbia, the Cornell men’s baseball team walked away empty handed Wednesday in a doubleheader against Dartmouth at home. After scoring a total of four runs in the two games, the Red will take on Penn in a key four-game series and try to get back on track.
In the first game, Cornell (12-16, 5-7 Ivy) surrendered five runs in the final inning after holding a couple of leads over the course of the game. However, the game ended in final score of 9-3, in favor of Dartmouth (13-20, 7-5).
“In game one, we had some opportunities and we had a lead but we just couldn’t hang on. We are just disappointed,” said head coach Dan Pepicelli.
In the second game of the day, the Red saw a bit more success at the plate with six hits — three more than the first game — but the Green seemed to have a hold on the Red.
Cornell trailed for whole game, but attempted to come back in the seventh inning when sophomore Ellis Bitar managed to steal third and home on an error to put his team on the board. However, that would be the Red’s lone run as the team would go on to lose, 3-1.
“We didn’t get enough with the opportunities that we had,” Pepicelli said. “It’s disappointing. With the second game … we felt like we didn’t have very good luck.”
Junior infielder Frankie Padulo said he thought his team performed much better in the second game, despite the loss. But the effort was not enough.
“We did not swing the bats well at all in the first game,” Padulo said. “And then [in] the second game we put a lot of barrels on balls, but could not quite get the timely hit we needed.”
The pitching was also much better in game two. The four relief pitchers collectively allowed two hits, one walk and no earned runs in three innings.
What will be 10 games in nine days with the upcoming series against Penn (15-18, 6-6) is no easy task, especially with the recent pitching struggles. For this reason, 10 different pitchers were used in the two games against Dartmouth so that no pitcher was overworked, according to Pepicelli.
“I am trying to reduce the workload on our bullpen,” Pepicelli said. “It’s going to be more like, ‘get your three or two guys and get of there,’ … rather than leaning on three or four for four hitters.”
This is a problem the Red ran into in the first game yesterday.
“We had a good game going into the seventh,” Pepicelli said. “[But] we had to use some other guys because we had a second game coming. They scored five in the seventh; we clearly could have limited what that was. We had to worry about game two a little bit too.”
In addition to pitching, Cornell will have to figure out their offensive game and start getting more hits in order to win the series against the Quakers. One such solution, Pepicelli suggests, is being more aggressive at the plate.
“From an offensive standpoint, we just need to take aggressive swings and put barrels on balls,” Padulo said.
The Red sits one game below the Quakers in the Lou Gehrig division of the Ivy League. This series will be pivotal in closing the gap between Cornell and the Ivy leader Princeton, who will play the Red in four games the following weekend.
It will not be an easy weekend. But Cornell is ready for the challenge, and more than willing to take it on.
“[Penn] is very similar to us,” Pepicelli said. “They have pretty good pitching numbers. We are playing at their place; it’s tough to play on the road in the Ivy League. It’s going to be really important that we band together and go to it.”
The pitchers for the series will be junior right-hander Paul Balestrieri first on Saturday and junior right-hander Peter Lannoo secon. Sophomore left-hander Justin Lewis and junior right-hander Tim Willittes will start Sunday.