Despite the late date, a cold win blew throughout Sunday’s doubleheader as the baseball team drew closer to the end of a season that never really got hot. After a marathon 14-inning affair to start off the day, the Tigers (13-26 overall, 8-12 Ivy League) got the bats going in their Ivy League finale against Cornell, recording their only win of a tough four-game series.
Senior lefty Michael Fagan, in what was likely his last collegiate start, pitched nine solid innings in the first game, letting up just one run — a solo homer from Ryan Karl — while striking out 11. Despite one of the best performances of a very impressive season for Fagan, he would not record the win, as he left the game tied 1-1 after pitching nine strong innings.
“He had as good a year as any pitcher that we’ve ever had here, capped off by that nine-inning performance,” head coach Scott Bradley said.
Assuming he does not pitch Tuesday, Fagan will finish the season 4-2 with three complete games, 77 strikeouts and a 2.33 ERA. He went 1-4 last year with an ERA just under 8.00.
“He didn’t have a bad bullpen this entire year,” head coach Scott Bradley said of Fagan and his turnaround. “He just came out and his whole focus, his whole idea was, ‘I’m gonna enjoy myself.’ ”
“It’s good to know I went out playing my best,” Fagan said.
The tie lasted six more innings. Both defenses performed admirably, and the tie was broken only by Karl’s second homer of the contest, this time off of sophomore Chris Bodurian.
The Tigers answered in the bottom of the inning to keep the game going but could not plate the winning run, stranding three.
After sterling defense for almost two full games worth of play, two lapses would doom the Tigers in the 14th. After a walk and a single to start off the inning, York balked home the go-ahead run with men on second and third. The Big Red (18-21, 9-11) added an insurance run when junior catcher Brett Geren’s attempt to pick off the runner on third backfired and the ball rolled into left field.
The Tigers managed two runners with no outs in the bottom of the 14th, but Big Red reliever Connor Kaufmann sat down the next three batters in order to end the contest three and a half hours after it began.
Sophomore Luke Streiber started the season finale, letting up a run in the first but settling down for the next two frames. With one runner on in the fourth, he once again proved himself susceptible to the longball, as Chris Cruz smacked a no-doubt-that’s-gone shot over the right field fence.
The Tigers got a run thanks to Cornell starter Michael Byrne’s control problems in the first. After two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases, freshman left fielder Paul Tupper singled, but only one run would score. Byrne settled down, not only stranding three but also cruising until the sixth, when Servais ripped a single into right-center, scoring Tupper. York then launched a liner to roughly the same spot and legged out a two-run triple to give the Tigers their first lead of the day. Powers then singled through the left side, scoring York.
“What you did on the mound this year for us just shows the type of person you are, and it shows the stupidity of the coaching staff that we didn’t put you in sooner,” Bradley said to York in a ceremony for the seniors after the game. “Having your versatility around and being able to do different things with you, I think it’s very fitting that you got a huge hit in this game today.”
Junior reliever Nick Donatiello came in to finish out the game for the Tigers and looked good until he let up a two-out triple in the top of the ninth, with the runner scoring on a wild pitch in the next at bat. Donatiello rallied, however, to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead and avoid the sweep.
Sunday’s drama was preceded by a less suspenseful doubleheader in Ithaca. The Tigers lost the first game of that doubleheader 6-4 despite two-hit performances from Keller and two freshmen, infielder Danny Baer and designated hitter Nick Hernandez. Freshman Keelan Smithers kept the Big Red under control for five and two thirds innings in the second game, but with two outs in the sixth, he started to lose control and was eventually tagged for three runs in addition to the one he let up in the first. An RBI triple from junior right fielder Peter Owens, who then scored on a passed ball, was all the offense Princeton got as it fell to Cornell 4-2.
After a somewhat disappointing Ivy season, the Tigers have one game left on their schedule. They travel to Jamaica, N.Y. Tuesday to face St. John’s University.