After dropping three out of four to Cornell, what’s next for the Lions?
Disappointment was the word of the weekend, as the Lions dropped three of their four games to the Cornell Big Red this weekend up in Ithaca. Despite strong starting pitching, the Lions’ bats weren’t able to heat up until late in the day on Sunday, rendering some of those great performances inconsequential.
The three wins pushed Cornell’s stellar Ivy record to 10-2, and dropped the Lions to 6-6—good for third place in the Lou Gehrig division. Now that it’s back to the drawing board, let’s take a look-see at what happened the last few days and what it means for the Lions going forward in this week’s “three quick thoughts.”
1. Good pitching beats good hitting
Unfortunately, I’m talking about Cornell’s pitching and the Lions’ hitting. The Lions scored just one run over the course of two games on Saturday—an unearned run in the third inning of the first game. There are no real excuses for the poor offensive showing, other than the fact that Cornell lived up to the hype it created with its stats so far this season.
The Lions were able to put some runs on the board on Sunday, but a five-run third inning was sophomore David Speer’s undoing in the third game of the series. But other than game three, the Lion pitching was also in the business of shutting stuff down, as senior Pat Lowery, along with juniors Tim Giel and Stefan Olson, went a combined 20 innings giving up just four runs on 12 hits, with three walks (all from Olson) and 19 strikeouts. Given Cornell’s offensive numbers coming in, the starting pitching was definitely at the top of its game.
2. Streak snapped
Jon Eisen came into the weekend with an 18-game hitting streak, and it ended after Eisen took an 0-4 in the first game. Over the course of those 18 games, Eisen raised his batting average to .330, and undeniably helped lead the charge of the Lion offense from the leadoff spot in the batting order.
In some ways, the way Eisen goes is the way the team goes. But let’s be real—one batter does not a lineup make or break. This team has an incredible one-through-nine mindset when it comes to the lineup, and unfortunately, besides game five, none of those nine batters could come up with enough clutch hits to drive in runs.
3. So… now what?
First of all, of course a 6-6 record in the same division as a 10-2 record does not look all that great on paper. The team’s postseason chances could perhaps seem even more doubtful when you consider the fact that second-place Princeton will be making its way to Manhattan next weekend for another four-game set.
But that’s just it—Princeton is coming here. They’re leaving their friendly confines of New Jersey (although, what in New Jersey is ever considered “friendly confines?”) to step into the Lions’ den. So far this season, the Lions have posted a 3-1 record at home against Ivy teams. Another weekend like that, and the Lions would be right back in the thick of the chase for the Lou Gehrig divisional title.
The fat lady hasn’t sung her song just yet, folks. And with the Light Blue’s starting pitching, it would be remiss to count them out.
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