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Baseball To Take on Northeastern at Russmatt Invitational

For their first official games of the 2016 season, Cornell Big Red baseball will face Northeastern University at Chain of Lakes Park,the former spring training facility for the Cleveland Indians until 2008, in Winter Haven, Florida  for a three-game set this weekend. The Northeastern Huskies finished last season at 25-30 and 14-10 in conference play, and they were eliminated by the University of Delaware in the CAA Tournament. They’re 4-4 this year, and they most notably faced the Boston Red Sox on February 29th; they lost 8-3. Highlights for that game can be found here. The Big Red finished their season last year at 13-27 overall, and 9-11 in Ivy League play. They lost an enormous senior class, so March will be important in getting a feel for what the club can offer.

Not only that, but this will be the first game with new head coach Dan Pepicelli at the helm, and he’s obviously excited for that opportunity. “We’re really trying to win,” Pepicelli told me as he brushed off the notion that they were just exhibitions. “We put a system in, and we expect to win every time out; that’s the mentality we have. We want to have good, clean games–that means controlling our walks and errors.”

A big question, one that many have pondered since the end of last season, is: what will the rotation look like? With the departure of Brian McAfee and Kellen Urbon, the Big Red will likely turn to a combination of Paul Balestrieri, Michael Byrne, Tim Willittes, Justin Lewis, and Peter Lannoo out of the bullpen. “Coach Marsh has done a tremendous job with the pitching staff,” Pepicelli told me. “They’re throwing really well, and I feel good about the fact that we’ll be in the strike zone quite a bit.”

The offense has always been an issue with this team, and Coach Pepicelli even admitted it would “come and go” this early in the season. Mark Fraser, Cole Rutherford, Jordan Winawer, and Dale Wickham will be crucial pieces heading into Ivy play.

There are no live streams available for the three-game series, so stay tuned to the Cornell Baseball and BRSN Facebook page, as well as our Twitter account, @CornellBRSN.

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