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Not-So-Freshman Feature: Ryan Krainz

With the Ivy League baseball regular season in the books, Cornell secured its first winning season since 2013, improving on the team’s conference win total from last year by two victories. A handful of Cornell’s success can be attributed to junior transfer Ryan Krainz, the shortstop who started all 38 games for the Big Red. Throughout the spring, Krainz’s 49 hits and 28 walks led all hitters, while his .478 on base percentage and 59 total bases were good enough for second. Even more miraculously, Krainz struck out just 16 times in 130 plate appearances.

Hailing from Naperville, Illinois, a suburb about 30 minutes outside Chicago, Krainz started playing baseball at the young age of five. While playing at Naperville High School, his ultimate goal was to get a scholarship and play college baseball, but he knew that he wasn’t necessarily the most gifted physical athlete when it came to speed, height, or strength.

Thanks to some coaching connections, Krainz elected to play at the College of San Mateo, a junior school notable for moving players to the next level. San Mateo helped to develop three current major leaguers — Scott Feldman of the Reds, Daniel Nava of the Phillies, and Joe Biagini of the Blue Jays. During his time at San Mateo, Krainz worked hard on his academics with hopes to transfer to a Division I program. With the help of Assistant Coach Walker Bullington, he found Cornell University and Coach Pep.

Krainz notes that there isn’t much difference in the competition between junior colleges and the Ivy League, but mentioned some key takeaways that he’s discovered.

“Junior college prepared me well, but you see much more depth and consistency at the Division I level,” Krainz said. “The academics are harder for sure. It’s harder to be a student-athlete.”

He was not sure exactly where he was going to live upon transferring, but thanks to some of the older members on the team, Krainz was invited to live at the baseball house. He says this gesture made the transition to the team and school much easier. He has had one embarrassing situation, as all transfers do, as he tried to buy blue books in the bookstore before his test, which are not required for Cornell exams.

Krainz sees many keys to Cornell’s success this season, but most importantly, he credits the teamwork and everyone’s ability to contribute. But, personally, he says all that he tries to do is stay consistent at the plate.

“I have learned to let go of bad at-bats and not to let anything build up,” Krainz commented.

He follows the team’s motto of the “windshield program next pitch,” which allows hitters to stay positive when they fall behind in the count and treat every pitch and at-bat as a new opportunity.

The baseball team has enjoyed a lot of fun moments this year, but Krainz received the most joy out of their visit to Fenway Park before the Harvard series. The team was allowed to go onto the field and tour the stadium. He considers it not only a cool experience as a baseball fan, but a great team bonding opportunity as well. From a player standpoint, Krainz enjoyed the victory over Michigan State University in Richmond, describing, “It was cool to beat a big program like that.”

Krainz identifies his biggest role model as his father.

“I appreciate his work ethic and willingness to work with me. He still throws me batting practice. He has made a lot of sacrifices,” Krainz explained.

On the field, he models his game after former St. Louis Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein and current Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Krainz is currently enrolled in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations with hopes to work in a Major League Baseball front office, but he is also open to other opportunities if they present themselves down the road.


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