Baseball Weekend Recap: Niagara 3/25/18
Cornell showed continued improvement on a cold day in a winter that shows no sign of quitting. Scheduled to play two double headers on both Saturday and Sunday, Cornell came into Sunday’s games fresh, as the Saturday games were cancelled due to inclement weather. Although it was still bitterly cold on Sunday, the teams fought through the chill to serve up two very entertaining games.
To say the first game went well for Cornell would be a massive understatement. A 17-5 score line in favor of Cornell does not accurately reflect how totally dominant the Big Red was. The team scored early and often, putting up a crooked number in four of the first seven innings. While players swinging the bat well, they kept their composure at the plate the entire game, drawing 10 walks over eight innings, a remarkable exercise in plate control when the game was so clearly in Cornell’s favor. Dale Wickham led the offensive assault, driving in five runs, which left him one run away from tying a Cornell record that has been held for 11 years. In front of him, Kyle Gallagher continued his recent hot hitting, reaching base in all six of his plate appearances. The pitching was anchored by a brilliant start by Tim Willittes. One of the old maxims of baseball is to throw up a zero on the scoreboard after your team scores runs, and Willittes was able to dance out of trouble in the second, third and fourth innings to keep Niagara scoreless and hopeless as Cornell piled on the misery. The only note of concern for Cornell was the one-inning, four-run performance by senior Austin Wahl, who was clearly trying to find form after not appearing in a game last year.
The second game showed continued improvement, but was one in which the team ultimately came up short. Cornell fell behind early, giving up three runs in the first inning but remaining in touching distance for the whole game thanks to starting pitcher Seth Urbon, who recovered from his slow start and gave up only one run over the next five innings. However, Colby Wyatt came in in the eighth and surrendered three pivotal runs that the Big Red could not get back. The Big Red stranded quite a few runners in the first game, and did so again in the second game, especially when the chips were down. With the score at 7-4 in the ninth inning, Cornell loaded the bases with one out. However, a strikeout by big power hitter Simoneit was followed by a groundout by Arndt, and the game ended. However, after losing its first six games of the season, this continued trend of improvement for Cornell, as the team split its first series of the year after losing the first three.