The Cornell baseball team knew traveling to take on a nationally ranked team would be a tough way to start the season, and its fears were proven true as No. 10 Texas A&M dominated in a three-game series sweep.
The Red’s (0-3) offense had almost no success against the Texas A&M (7-0) pitching staff, scoring just four runs in three games, while the Cornell pitchers allowed 22 Aggie runs in game two and eight runs in game three.
The Red managed to hang with the Aggies during a close 3-2 contest in game one where each team recorded six hits.
“I think any time you can keep an SEC team to three runs, you’re doing something [right],” said head coach Dan Pepicelli.
But games two and three quickly got ugly for Cornell.
In game two, Texas A&M dominated the Red by a lopsided 22-0 score, chasing senior starting pitcher Tyler Fernandez from the game in the first inning. Fernandez allowed seven runs — five earned — and recorded just two outs. Sophomore Jeb Bemiss got 10 outs in relief and surrendered nine runs, six of them earned.
“Game two was silly,” Pepicelli said. “We got down early and I wasn’t going to fire any bullets to keep it close, because I was trying to win game three, and it just got away from us.”
Texas A&M mowed down the Cornell lineup in the middle game, building a 16-0 lead after three innings. Chandler Jozwiak threw five shutout innings for the Aggies, and the Red racked up just three hits, compared to the Aggies’ 29.
During game three, Texas A&M built another early lead from which the Red was never able to recover. The Aggies continued to tack on runs and finished the sweep in an 8-2 decision.
“We couldn’t really get any rhythm going against [Texas A&M starter Mitchell Kilkenny] on offense, but we were hanging around and eventually they kind of distanced themselves on us,” Pepicelli said. “I think we played just as solid in game three as we did in game one, just a little bit different luck.”
Cornell’s two runs in the final contest came in the ninth inning, and the team had just three base hits in the game, two from senior outfielder Dale Wickham.
The Red will look to bounce back in a three-game series at Duke next weekend.
“[Texas A&M is] a College World Series team,” Pepicelli said. “We knew we were fighting off a big challenge to come down and play them here, but I thought there were definitely some positives to take out of it and definitely something to build off of.”