Cornell Takes Three of Four From Princeton in Final Ivy League Series
Even though the Big Red came into this weekend eliminated from Ivy League contention, there was still a great deal to play for. This was the last weekend of Ivy League play for a number of seniors—Tom D’Alessandro, Ryan Plantier, Chris Cruz, Ben Swinford, Connor Kaufmann, Jimmy Sikorski—and it was also the last series Brent Jones would pitch in before the MLB Amateur Draft. Let’s take a look at all that went on in a very eventful weekend.
The biggest blemish on the scoreboard in this one was the first inning, as the Big Red scored four runs which included a Ryan Karl home run (you’ll notice a theme there); Cornell scored six runs in total off of Princeton starter Chad Powers through six innings (only two of those runs were earned). The starter for the Big Red was former closer Kellen Urbon, who is now beginning to look more comfortable in a starting role; he pitched to the tune of 5.2 innings with three earned runs allowed, two walks, and three strikeouts. He was relieved by relievers Matt Horton and Paul Balestrieri who pitched 1.1 innings, allowing a run between them (credited to Horton). The game ended on an amazing diving play from Tom D’Alessandro which put the game to rest at 6-4.
As recently as last year, Nick Busto was a rock in the starting rotation, a rotation that was arguably the best in the Ivy League. He had faltered thus far into the season, but showed everyone this weekend why he was in the rotation to begin with. Busto pitched 7 innings on the day, allowing only one earned run on six hits, no walks, and six strikeouts; he was spotting his fastball on the corners and had his breaking ball working on both sides of the plate to keep hitters off balance. The only trouble he fell into was in the fourth, but only two runs (one earned) came out of it. In the six, the Red scored three on an RBI double from Jordan Winawer, and then an RBI triple from JD Whetsel, who then came around to score on the same play due to a throwing error. Cornell took a 4-2 lead and then Paul Balestrieri came in to close out the final two innings, pitching two scoreless with a strikeout.
Game 3 Box Score
The first game of the doubleheader at Princeton on Sunday was a special one. It was definitely Brent Jones’ day, as a scout from every Major League team was in attendance to witness Jones before he is drafted in the MLB Amateur Draft; one scout told me that he had already seen Jones multiple times and was getting one final look. Perfect Game was also in attendance, and they had this to say:
Cornell RHP Brent Jones showing everything; 91-93 T94 w ASR, 12-6 CB when on top 77-79 w some depth, 84-6 CU & flashed mid 80s CH #MLBDraft— Jheremy Brown (@JBrownPG) April 27, 2014
Teams have Jones high up on their radar, and it’s pretty clear he will be drafted in the top five to ten rounds, possibly higher. And he certainly impressed: he struggled a little bit in the first inning as he allowed a run on a sacrifice fly, but settled down immediately. The Red were down 1-0 into the fifth but Ryan Karl clubbed a home run to tie the game. The game remained tied until the seventh, as both Brent Jones and Michael Fagan (also a possible prospect) pitched into extra innings. Jones finished the day with eight innings, allowing only one earned run on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. In extras it was quiet until the 12th when Ryan Karl hit yet another home run to put the Red ahead 2-1. Unfortunately the Tigers tied the game in the bottom half of the frame on a Peter Owens RBI single, but the Big Red got the final advantage in the 14th as they scored two on a balk and a throwing error; these plays allowed the runners from second and third to score; the final score was 4-2.
Game 4 Box Score
In the final game of the series, Cornell got off to a quick lead on yet another hit from Jordan Winawer (5-10 on Sunday) who was then driven in by a JD Whetsel double to give the Red a 1-0. Princeton tied it in the bottom of the 1st, and the scored remained stable until the fourth. Chris Cruz, in his final Ivy League game, crushed a two-run home run that put the Red ahead 3-1. Unfortunately in the sixth, with two outs in the inning, a wild pitch on what would have been a swinging strikeout extended the inning leading to the end of Michael Byrne’s day and eventually a four-run inning for the Tigers. The Red scored one in the 9th, but were unable to mount a serious comeback as they fell 5-4.
The Big Red will finish their season against Canisius College on Tuesday for a doubleheader starting at 3 PM. Our broadcast coverage will end here, though, and we’d like to thank everyone who has listened/watched our broadcasts and has read our articles. We’ll have more articles for you, as well coverage on this year’s MLB draft and summer leagues. Follow us on Twitter @ cornellatbat or Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cornellatbat.