JACKSONVILLE, Ill. – Cornell's baseball team surrendered 15 unearned runs in a Midwest Conference South Division doubleheader that got away against Illinois College, 13-8 and 9-8, Friday afternoon on the Blueboys' home field.
The young Rams (8-21 overall, 3-7 MWC) beat themselves with nine errors on the day, although still had chances to pull out both games. The Blueboys (13-13, 7-3 MWC) broke a 4-4 tie in the opener with an eight-run seventh inning, only one of the runs which was earned.
Cornell took a 5-2 lead into the fifth inning of Game 2, but the Blueboys were then handed six unearned runs that enabled the sweep. The Ram pitching staff compiled a more-than-respectable 3.50 ERA, and had starters Kyle Stennes and Jared Henry both work into the seventh of their respective games.
Senior Zach Rogers finished the day 4-for-8 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs. The Cedar Rapids native climbed into second place on Cornell's single-season list for hits (56) and RBIs (44).
The Rams missed late scoring opportunities to take Game 2. Ryan Nordtvedt brought Cornell to within 9-8 on a hit by pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth. But Illinois College escaped the jam with the bags still packed. Cornell stranded two more runners in the ninth.
Rogers connected on a three-run homer in the third, and Nordtvedt blasted a solo shot in the fifth that put Cornell ahead 5-2. The Blueboys struck for two runs in the sixth, and gained the lead to stay with four in the seventh.
The Rams got two hits apiece from Joe Gerace, Max Freilinger and Jake Lehman. Gerace scored twice. Nordtvedt drove in a pair. Henry (2-4) allowed eight runs – one earned – over 6.1 innings.
Game 1 saw Illinois College break a late tie by scoring eight unearned runs of its final nine that crossed. Freshman Buddy Mattern and Rogers both had a pair of doubles to lead Cornell's 12-hit attack. They recorded back-to-back RBI doubles in the fifth that evened the score at 4-4.
Rogers went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a pair of runs. Mattern tallied two hits, three RBIs and scored twice. Nordtvedt went 3-for-4 and drove in a run. Beriah Quick chipped in two hits.
Stennes (3-3) was handed the loss, allowing 12 hits and eight runs – five earned – over 6.1 innings. The Blueboys did not score an earned run off relievers Tyler Riggs, Mike Law and Tony Medina.
Coming up – The Rams and Blueboys resume the four-game series Saturday with an 11 a.m. doubleheader in Jacksonville, Ill.