While other Ivy League games faced rain delays and cancellations on Saturday, Cornell and Princeton successfully completed two long games for a total of five hours and 22 minutes of baseball.
Cornell split Saturday’s double header before losing Sunday’s contest to drop the series to the Tigers.
After a 7-2 loss in game one on Saturday, Cornell’s offense surged in game two, earning a 15-9 victory.
In game three on Sunday, the teams fought an even battle to a late 2-2 tie before Cornell squandered its lead in the ninth inning for a 4-2 loss.
“It’s been kind of a frustrating year because we’ve had a lot of [series] where we’ve just really battled our way in the games … and we’re just not getting the results we’re looking for,” said head coach Dan Pepicelli.
The Red currently stands 9-21 overall and 4-11 in Ivy League play.
Cornell’s defense and pitching kept up its pattern of solid fielding and long relief outings. Both freshman right handed pitcher Luke Yacinich and junior right hander John Natoli got the call to pitch for four innings of relief in game one and two, respectively.
In game one the Red strung together solid hits in the bottom of the eighth inning to score two runs. Senior center fielder Adam Saks ripped a double to left center, and senior infielder Josh Ardnt followed with a run-scoring single. When senior catcher Will Simoneit grounded out, Ardnt advanced and sophomore Ramon Garza knocked him in with a single.
The Red’s offense came together in game two thanks to a combination of solid hits, stolen bases, advancements on wild pitches and a balk, eight walks and two hit batters.
While Cornell got on the board first in the top of the first inning, the Red was either tied with or trailed Princeton until the bottom of the fifth inning. After the Tigers put up a lopsided number in the top of the frame, Cornell came alive in the home fifth to score seven runs and force two Princeton pitching changes.
“It was nice to see us fight after we were down five runs,” Pepicelli said.
The offense did not stop after the momentous fifth inning, plating five runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Highlights from game two include Ardnt, who scored four runs by going 3-for-4 and walking once. Freshman catcher Austin Flematti scored three runs, reaching base on a hit, walk and hit-by-pitch.
“[It] really was a good win for us and we haven’t really done that all year, so it was a big deal,” Pepicelli said of the game two victory.
The Red was aggressive on the basepaths and successfully stole six bases in games one and two.
Cornell continued to run aggressively in game three — stealing second twice and advancing on a passed ball once — but ran into trouble once, when sophomore designated hitter Nicholas Binnie connected on a hit to the right-center field gap that got past Princeton’s right fielder David Harding, and sought extra bases but was thrown out at third.
While the Red continued to make contact in the third game, the team only stacked up five hits, compared to Princeton’s nine.
In two separate cases, Cornell struggled to capitalize on scoring opportunities when Princeton’s pitcher Andrew Gnazzo’s inconsistent control loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings. Throughout the course of the third game Cornell stranded eight runners.
The Red’s pitching was the consistent force of the game. Junior starter Jeb Bemiss threw complete game, a feat that was two days shy of being the first of its kind in exactly two years. Bemiss commanded the strike zone and frustrated the Tigers with a cutter mix.
“[Bemiss] pitched his tail off,” Pepicelli said. “[He] made a mistake there at the end but he was making competitive pitches right up until the last pitch — struck the last guy out looking — he made competitive pitches right up until the end of the game.”
The tie game ultimately broke open for Princeton when an RBI grounder snuck past the diving junior shortstop Matt Collins and junior third baseman Alex Carnegie, who were both playing in. Princeton secured another run when Bemiss’ pick off attempt ricocheted past first base.
Cornell will travel to face Binghamton University in a night game on Tuesday before returning home to Hoy Field to host Penn next weekend.