The Red took down Fordham and Towson last weekend with its pitching prowess on full display — just in time for Ivy play, which starts next weekend.
Cornell won both games on Saturday 1-0 and 4-2 against Fordham and Towson, respectively.
The Red faced Towson University again the next day and fell, 3-2. Despite scoring opportunities in the top of the ninth inning, Cornell couldn’t close the one-run deficit.
Leading up to in-conference play, Cornell has developed a trend of playing low-scoring games decided by starters and relief pitchers. Aided by its evolving defense and an offense trying to string runs together, the Red is seeking to improve as the season gets into full swing. Cornell currently stands with an overall record of 3-9.
In game one versus Fordham, Cornell junior Colby Wyatt hurled an impressive scoreless 7 and two-thirds innings. Wyatt struck out four and limited the Rams to only five hits, earning the win. Relief pitcher junior Andrew Ellison got the save to solidify the Red’s 1-0 victory.
Although the sole run of the game was unearned — freshman infielder and leadoff hitter Justin Taylor reached on an error in the first inning — the Red’s defense shutout Fordham the entire game.
Immediately following its victory over Fordham, Cornell directed their defensive momentum towards Towson University. Freshman pitcher Jon Zacharias racked up 3 strikeouts in 4 innings of work, allowing only one run.
By the end of the 6th inning, Cornell was down by two runs but the offense awakened late in the game to put up four runs in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings combined. Relief pitcher junior John Natoli tossed 3 and one-third scoreless to clinch the victory for the Red, earning a win for himself as well.
In the next day’s match, Cornell and Towson continued to keep the score close through the 5th inning. But by the end of the 7th, Towson had pulled away by two runs. After a scoreless 8th, Cornell tried to answer in an intense top of the ninth.
Junior infielder Matt Collins led off for the Red and reached after being hit by a pitch. Sophomore outfielder Nicholas Binnie connected with a pitch for a single, advancing Collins. Senior catcher Will Simoneit ripped a pinch-hit RBI. With two runners on and no outs, the Red had both the tying and go-ahead runs on base.
And then, just as quickly as it had been sparked, the Red’s offense ran out of luck. No outs quickly turned into two outs as Taylor grounded into a double play. Now, only the tying run remained on third. With senior infielder/outfielder Josh Arndt at bat and the tying run just 90 feet away, the game fizzled to an end with a fly ball and a stranded runner.
Despite the outcome of that second match versus Towson — a tumultuous and frustrating game culminating in the top of the ninth inning — the way the Red’s offense came alive to challenge the Tigers showed determination and promise. For an offense previously struggling to string hits together and create scoring opportunities, the players called to bat in the ninth did just that. Of the six players tested in the ninth, five made solid contact, but some of those hit balls failed to drop into the gaps.
This past weekend in Maryland marked the final series before conference play starts. Cornell aims to continue capitalizing on its own smart pitching and hopes to arrange an offense that comes in clutch.
Next weekend, Columbia hosts Cornell for the Red’s first conference series with two games on Saturday, March 23 and one on Sunday, March 24.