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Cameron Pollack / Sun Senior Photographer

April 22, 2018

Bitar and Wickham Each Homer Thrice as Baseball Uses Game 3 Comeback for 1st Ivy Series Win

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Down 5-0 in a series rubber match on Sunday, Cornell baseball seemed doomed for another Ivy League series loss.

But Cornell (8-17-1, 4-8 Ivy) earned its first Ivy series win of the season in Philadelphia this weekend, scoring seven runs in the eighth and ninth innings to swipe a victory from Penn (12-21-1, 6-8-1) after splitting a doubleheader on Saturday.

In the Red’s game one victory on Saturday, the team showcased its highly touted offense, teeing off on the Quakers for 10 runs on 17 hits.

Senior Ellis Bitar dominated at the plate, hitting two home runs and a pair of doubles in game one — good for six RBIs. He tacked on another homer in game two.

The team carried a 10-3 lead into the ninth, where Penn came out firing, trimming the lead to just one run after a series of walks and extra base hits with nobody out. Sophomore Andrew Ellison, the anchor of the Red’s bullpen thus far, was called in to shut down the Quakers and did his job, earning the save and cementing a close 10-9 victory.

The Red came up short in a close game two. After five innings of close baseball, it looked like Penn was going to pull away, as the Quakers put up four runs in the sixth on the Red’s sophomore starter Seth Urbon, capped by a three-run homer.

Cornell answered back in its next time up with four runs of its own, though. After a walk and a single, second baseman Ryan Krainz doubled to bring in a run. Senior Kyle Gallagher grounded out to bring in another and Dale Wickham homered to tie the game back up at five, his second of the day.

But Penn wasn’t done there and had one more big inning in its arsenal over Cornell. The Quakers rallied for another four runs in the bottom of the eighth and didn’t look back from there, taking game two, 9-5.

Penn looked to be in control throughout Sunday’s game. The Quakers opened up the contest with a two-run homer in the first, then padded the early lead with one run in the third and two in the sixth.

Penn’s lead shrunk suddenly when Cornell rallied in the seventh. The Red strung together three singles before Wickham hit a three-run blast — his third homer of the weekend — bringing the Red within one.

Ellison entered to pitch for Cornell in the seventh and held the Quakers, setting them down in order.

Cornell then played some small-ball in the eighth. Sophomore Kaleb Lepper drew a leadoff walk to get the tying run on base. After a sac bunt, wild pitch and another walk, Krainz singled and tied the game with a perfectly executed safety squeeze. Gallagher lined to left for a single, plating a run to take the lead.

Displaying some heads-up running, Krainz took third while Penn’s third baseman talked to the pitcher on the mound. That extra base would prove to be crucial: Wickham, the next batter, flied out deep to score Krainz, tacking on an important insurance run.

Penn rallied in the eighth to score a run, fired up after head coach John Yurkow was tossed for arguing balls and strikes. Ellison kept things in hand, holding the Quakers to one in the eighth and coming back out in the ninth to shut things down, earning the win.

With the win, the Red moves out of last place in the Ivy League, with three conference series remaining for a late-season push.

Cornell travels to Binghamton Tuesday night before returning home for a series against Harvard next weekend.