Cornell baseball (2-13, 2-1 Ivy) played its first in-conference games of the season against Yale (5-12, 1-2 Ivy) on Friday, March 24 and Sunday, March 26. Going into this series, the Red had lost 12 consecutive contests to start its season.
In the first game of the series, it was a duel between starting pitchers for the opening innings. In the first two innings, the Red struck out four times, with the only base runner coming via a walk for sophomore first-baseman Max Jensen.
Freshman starting pitcher Ethan Hamil also had a strong start to the game. Hamil retired the Bulldogs’ first five batters and did not give up a hit until the start of the third inning.
By the second time through, both teams seemed to get into an offensive rhythm. After Yale gave up a walk to Jensen and a single to senior third-baseman Joe Hollerbach, the Red had runners on the corners with two outs. The team could not cash in, though, with junior second-baseman Matt Barnhorst grounding out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Hamil gave up a single, followed by a homerun, to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. Yale had two more players reach base later in the inning, but Hamil was able to avoid further damage.
In the top of the fifth, sophomore center-fielder Jakobi Davis worked a leadoff walk. He then stole second and third base and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from sophomore designated hitter John Quinlan.
Going into the sixth inning, Cornell trailed 3-1. With one out and nobody on, junior catcher Nathan Waugh got hit by a pitch, followed by back-to-back singles from senior right-fielder Sam Kaplan and Hollerbach. This set the stage for Barnhorst, who hit a grand slam and gave the Red a 5-3 lead.
Yale did not score for the rest of the game, and Cornell only allowed two Bulldogs to reach base in the final three innings. The Red won its first game of the season, 5-3.
On Sunday, March 26, Cornell started the first game of a doubleheader. The Red had an ugly first inning, with junior starting pitcher Von Baker surrendering eight earned runs in the frame. Baker struggled to find the strike zone, allowing three walks and hitting two batters to start the game.
Cornell’s offense was not able to build momentum. The Red did not have a runner in scoring position until the fifth inning, when Davis stole second base.
In the bottom of the fifth, Yale was able to tack on another run, expanding its lead to 12-0. Cornell finally got on the board in the seventh inning, courtesy of an RBI single from Davis. In the top of the ninth, Barnhorst hit an RBI double.
The Red dropped the second game of the series by a final score of 12-2.
In the rubber match, Quinlan and senior left-fielder Guy Wils hit back-to-back doubles to give Cornell an early 1-0 lead. In the bottom half of the frame, the Bulldogs tied the game at one off of a sacrifice fly.
In the top of the second, the Red’s first four batters all reached base, setting the team up for a big four-run inning. Cornell would not give up this lead for the rest of the game.
Going into the seventh inning, the Red was up 5-3. With two outs and nobody on base, Waugh launched a ball out of the park to give the team a much needed insurance run. The run proved to be crucial, with the Bulldogs scoring two in the bottom of the eighth. The Red added one more run in the ninth and ended up winning the game 7-5.
After a hard fought series victory, the Red will continue its season on April 1 when the team travels to play Columbia for a three-game series. This game will be streamed on ESPN+.
Anees Mitri is a Sun Contributing Writer. He can be reached at [email protected].