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TBT: Cornell Baseball defeats ASU, 1972

Since patches of snow still remain and the temperature struggles to rise here in Ithaca, it is hard to believe that baseball season is in full swing. The climate this week 43 years ago was hardly any different, as the Big Red were forced to retreat to sunny Riverside, California to play their first outdoor games of the season. There the team participated in one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country, the Riverside National Collegiate Baseball Tournament. The Big Red fared pretty well on the road trip by going 4-3 against some of the toughest competition in the nation. However, the victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils on March 24, 1972 remains the most significant in Cornell Baseball history.

At the time Cornell was considered a very strong team, and they even placed second in the EIBL twice in the early 1970’s. Despite this success, the Big Red hardly compared to the national powerhouse that was Arizona State. The Sun Devils’ roster boasted 5 future professional players, and were coming off a season in which they were the top ranked team after winning 50 games. Their 1972 campaign was equally impressive as they had won 11 straight games entering the contest with the Big Red.

However, Cornell was unfazed by the apparent David vs. Goliath matchup as they battled the Sun Devils to a tough 3-1 victory. The Big Red were propelled to victory by their left handed power pitcher, Fred Anyzeski. Not only did Anzeski pitch a gem (5 hits allowed, 7 strikeouts), but he also accounted for Cornell’s first run when captain Tom Boettcher knocked a home run to left center field. Despite surrendering a run in the eighth inning, the Big Red were able to rally for a run in the ninth, and the eventual victory. The team was able to finish out the 1972 season with a 20-10-1 record and a league runner-up finish. However, the stunning victory over top ranked Arizona State in March of that year is still the pinnacle of success for the Big Red baseball program.

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