In a pair of doubleheaders on the road, Cornell baseball split against both of its Ivy League opponents this weekend despite working with a depleted lineup. The Red was able to return home with two more wins, taking one each from Harvard and Dartmouth.
Cornell (13-11, 3-5 Ivy) did not have its usual cast of characters on the field throughout the weekend.
Cornerstone players such as juniors Ellis Bitar and Dale Wickham were not healthy enough to play for the Red on the road. Wickham leads Cornell in batting with a .383 average at the plate.
Junior Trey Baur also left midway through Sunday’s contest with an injury. Baur had broken a program record with six hits in last Wednesday’s game against Towson.
“We were missing the top four hitters in the order,” said head coach Dan Pepicelli. “We were really out of position once we lost that many guys.”
But the remaining Red sluggers dug their cleats in and held their ground against the interdivisional opponents.
“I think we did a really good job of staying afloat and … being competitive,” Pepicelli said. “You go on the road to Dartmouth and Harvard and win two games, it’s not the worst thing. We certainly would like to win a series, but considering who we were missing, I can’t say enough about the guts we showed.”
Cornell came out on Saturday and dropped its first game against Harvard, 7-5. The Red led three different times over the course of the game but failed to hang on in the waning moments.
Nevertheless, the team came back and slathered on runs against the Crimson in a 9-5 victory to close out Saturday.
“There were people who had not even traveled earlier in the year that were in the starting lineup,” Pepicelli said. “It says so much about the kids we’ve got on this team. Their minds were in it.”
Cornell continued its resilience and energy in its first game against Dartmouth Sunday. The Green was silenced, 2-0, as junior Tommy Morris earned his first win of the season. The right-handed pitcher tossed six innings and allowed no earned runs or walks, striking out just one batter along the way.
“We pitch a lot to contact,” Pepicelli said. “We don’t have a lot that’s going to blow you away, but we can be successful. Thomas Morris was fantastic. To shut that team out, at that field, is really, really tough to do. It’s only his third start for us, and he’s gotten better each time out.”
The offense was not flowing on Sunday as it has been at times for this squad so far, and the lack of run production caught up with the Red. Dartmouth shutout Cornell, 5-0, in part two of Sunday’s action with only two hits tallied for the visitors.
Action resumes on Wednesday when Cornell hosts Binghamton in a non-conference battle. But Pepicelli knows that he must have his team in its best possible shape for the upcoming weekend’s Ivy League games against Columbia. Pepicelli is not certain who is going to be in the lineup on Wednesday.
“The priority has to be getting ready for the weekend,” Pepicelli said. “I’m going to have a better feel by [Tuesday], and if anybody is even on the bubble I am going to be conservative with it.”
But this is by no means a meaningless game for the Red.
“We are going to compete like heck,” Pepicelli said. “No matter what has happened … we just get tough, it doesn’t make us fold. I expect us to be very tough against Binghamton.”
Cornell will square off at home against Binghamton at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Hoy Field.