This post has been updated.
A weekend after it suffered a sweep at the hands of No. 10 Texas A&M, Cornell baseball was beaten up by a tough nonconference foe again, dropping three straight to Duke.
In game one, the Blue Devils (9-2) got out to an early 3-0 lead and used a four-run sixth inning to cruise to an 8-3 victory. Senior Tim Willittes picked up his second loss of the season for the Red (0-6), throwing five and one-third innings and allowing six runs.
Cornell had just five hits in game one.
“We had a really good offensive club last year and we have a lot of those guys back,” said assistant coach Frank Hager ’12. “They’re just a game away from really breaking out.”
A bright spot offensively was senior outfielder Kyle Gallagher, who had two hits in each of the first two games.
“[Gallagher is] just relaxed and seeing the baseball really well,” Hager said.
The middle game, a 7-2 Cornell loss, once again saw Duke take a quick lead and never look back. The Blue Devils scored three runs in the first two innings.
Ellis Bitar hit a two-run homer for the Red in the sixth to pull his team within one, but Duke immediately got the pair of runs back in the bottom half of the inning.
In the series’ final game, Duke’s five first-inning runs were enough for the Blue Devils to cruise to a 7-2 victory. The Blue Devils held Cornell to just two hits in the final game.
Sophomore Seth Urbon started on the mound for Cornell in game three, surrendering seven runs in five and two-thirds innings.
Hager said the Red’s pitchers will focus in future games on getting ahead early on hitters.
“Keep pounding the zone … and pitching ahead in counts,” Hager said. “We aren’t a staff that’s overpowering with 95 mile-per-hour arms, but we’re a staff with a really good pitch mix.”
Still seeking its first win, the Red is back in action March 17 at Fordham.
“We have a good two-week period here … to recalibrate and get to where we want to be,” Hager said.