The Red continued on its path back to respectability in Ivy League play by splitting a Tuesday home-field doubleheader with conference foe Yale.
Cornell dropped the first game, 3-2, but picked up a win in the second match, 4-2, bringing its record to 4-12 overall and 2-2 in Ivy play, while the Bulldogs sit at 6-9 and 2-2.
“I definitely think that we’re playing a lot looser now,” said sophomore first baseman Jadd Schmeltzer after the win. “We’re starting to get to that level where, you know what, we’re going out there and we’re confident, and we’re getting ready to play the best baseball we can.”
The first contest at Hoy Field featured a pair of complete game performances from the starting pitchers, with Red sophomore lefty Mickey Brodsky putting up a solid performance, surrendering only five hits and three runs while walking two and striking out two. Yale’s Brandon Josselyn would out-duel him, however, picking up his third win on the season as he gave up only two runs.
Brodsky also provided some offense on the day, notching an RBI from the clean-up spot in the batting order. Senior third baseman Nathan Ford registered the other RBI on the morning, while senior shortstop Scott Hardinger had two hits in the No. 2 hole.
Yale scored first in the second inning, getting a run after a triple and an RBI groundout, but the solid performance from Brodsky, who retired the final ten batters he faced, would keep the Red in the game.
Ultimately, Josselyn proved too much for the Red batters, who were struck out five times, left eight men on base and managed only one extra-base hit.
“We’ve been struggling with runners in scoring position,” Schmeltzer said. Although he admitted the Yale starter played great, Schmeltzer added that, “it’s more that we’re making the pitcher look a lot better than he is.”
In the second game, it was Cornell who scored early, grabbing two quick runs off of Yale’s Chris Finneran in the first inning as Schmeltzer hit a hard double to left field, driving in Hardinger and Brodsky.
“I’ve actually played a lot against [Finneran] since I was in Little League. I’ve faced him, and I kind of had an advantage because I knew he was going to challenge me,” Schmeltzer said.
In the second, Hardinger tacked on another for the Red, as his single to left brought in freshman right fielder Brian Billigen, who had stolen second after the first of his two hits on the afternoon.
That would be the end of the day for Finneran, who left after only 1.2 innings, having surrendered the three runs.
On the other side, Red starter Tony Bertucci pitched a six-inning gem, allowing no runs or walks and striking out five. Junior David Rochefort recorded the save, striking out four in the final two innings.
“Tony looked excellent out there –– that might have been the best I’ve ever seen Tony throw,” Schmeltzer said. “It just looked like he had control of all his pitches, and Yale looked caught off guard.”