Big Red Baseball Wins Three of Four At Bucknell
In their first four game series of the year, the Big Red (6-4) picked up three big wins as they headed to Lewisburg, PA to take on the Bucknell Bisons (7-12).
Game one was a high scoring affair fueled by poor pitching and fielding by Bucknell. The Bisons jumped out to a 5-1 lead after 5 innings, led by second baseman Joe Ogren (2 hits/5 AB’s, 2 RBI’s, 1 Run) who scored in the first and tripled home a run in the fifth inning and right fielder Danny Rafferty (2-6, 2 RBI’s) who also doubled home two runs in the fifth. The top of the 7th proved to be Bucknell’s undoing, however, where Bison pitching issued two bases loaded walks and allowed another run to score on a wild pitch. The Big Red would bring in a fourth run that inning on a fielding error during an afternoon that saw Bucknell commit three errors. After Bucknell tied it up in the bottom of the 7th, the game would go into extra innings where it was right fielder Josh Arndt (1-4, 3 RBI’s, 1 run) who would hit the big double that would score two in the top of the 11th and allow the Big Red to nab the series opener with an 8-6 win.
Game two would have Bucknell get their revenge as they scored 12 runs in the first three innings. It was a rough outing for senior pitcher Michael Byrne (L, 2-1, 6 earned runs over 2 1/3 innings) who faced 16 batters while on the mound. Bucknell hitters chased three more Cornell pitchers from the game before junior Jamie Smith (4 K’s, 3 1/3 scoreless innings) ended the inning by striking out right fielder Tommy Pennington. Cornell would go onto score a run in the 5th and two runs in the 7th to round out an ugly 3-12 loss in seven innings.
While Game two saw the Big Red’s pitching struggle, Game three was quite the opposite, featuring another strong performance by junior Tim Willittes (W, 2-0, 8 scoreless innings). Willittes dominated Bucknell hitting, allowing only 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 13 batters. Big Red hitting rebounded as well, with left fielder Jordan Winawer (1-3, 2 walks) getting on base three times, stealing a base and scoring twice while first baseman Cole Rutherford (2-3, 1 walk) and center fielder Dale Wickham (2-5) each tallying an RBI. Though Bucknell would score two in the ninth, Cornell would end up with the 5-2 win.
The series finale in game four on Sunday meanwhile was a tight game. Cornell would strike first in the second on an RBI ground out by DH C.J. Price (0-4, 1 RBI), but the big bat in this game was center fielder Dale Wickham (3-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI’s, 2 Runs) who hit a big two-run home run to right field to give Cornell a 3-0 lead in the 6th. Bucknell would make things interesting, however, scoring twice in the 7th, one of which was off a wild pitch by starter Peter Lannoo (W, 1-0, 2 runs in 6 2/3 innings). Lannoo was knocked out of the game after an RBI single by third baseman Sam Clark (1-3, 1 RBI) which cut the Cornell lead to only one run. Reliever Ryne Veenema then took the mound and, after a wild pitch, was able to strike out left fielder Alex O’Neill (0-3) to end the inning. Bucknell would make one final comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth, after DH Mike Korchak (0-4, 1 K) reached on a fielding error second baseman Eliot Lowell with only one out. A single by first baseman Spencer Stokes (2-4, 1 run, 1 SB) advanced the tying run in pinch runner Chuckie Scales to third base, Stokes would then steal second during the following at bat. With one out and the tying and winning runs in scoring position, junior pitcher Jamie Flynn (2 Hits, 2 K’s, 0 runs in 1 2/3 innings) was able to coax a groundout to second base from catcher Jon Mayer (0-2). Lefty Justin Lewis (S, 2) was then brought in to face pinch hitter Jared Drizin, who grounded out to the shortstop to end Bucknell’s comeback and give the Big Red a close 3-2 victory.
A tough but successful three-win series now leaves Cornell at 6-4 this season, and they will head south next weekend to Orlando to face the University of Central Florida.