The University of Richmond baseball team lost its final game of the three-game series against Cornell University on March 20 after Cornell scored five runs in the ninth inning on the Pitt Field.
UR soundly defeated Cornell in the first two games of the series-winning 15-6 on March 18, 9-2 on March 19, but falling 7-4 on March 20.
Senior Dom Toso continued his hitting streak to 17 games in the ninth inning during Sunday’s game. Toso’s two-out double extended his hitting streak, giving him at least one hit in every game this season.
His batting strategy has been the same as this fall by focusing on consistency and being level-headed, he said in a post-game conference.
“I’m really thankful for the group of guys I’m around,” Toso said. “They all support me and everyone’s really positive.”
UR quickly took the lead on Friday when graduate student Christian Beal scored on a wild pitch. That lead increased in the second when Beal was hit by a pitch allowing junior Will Gersky to cross home plate. The Spiders' offense stayed hot when Cornell walked sophomore Alden Mathes, allowing junior Johnny Hipsman to score. The third and final run of the inning came when Toso hit a sac-fly to center field, helping graduate student Shane Gipson score.
Starting pitcher junior Jeremy Neff allowed four runs in the five innings he played but managed to strike out five of Cornell’s players.
UR continued to increase its lead in the fifth and sixth innings, scoring five runs in the two innings. The spell continued in the seventh when Toso knocked a double to left field for three runs batted in. The Spiders' final run came from a homer in the eighth inning by Hipsman.
Cornell slightly shrank the lead in the ninth, adding two runs to the board for a final score of 15-6.
Saturday’s game started similarly to the prior when the Spiders quickly got a run in the first inning.
Sophomore Jared Sprague-Lott hit a single, advancing Beal across home plate.
Cornell responded fast in the second with a singular run on a ground out to shortstop. This was the only offensive action of the game from Cornell until the seventh inning.
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First-year student Jake Elbeery hit a run batted in in the third, driving Toso home. The first of two Spider homers came in the fourth by freshman DJ Pacheco when he slammed a ball to left field. The second came in the bottom of the eighth when Sprague-Lott followed suit with another to left field, scoring him and Toso.
In the bottom of the sixth, Hipsman and Pacheco scored on RBI singles by Beal and Mathes. Sprague-Lott was hit by a pitch with bases loaded, sending Beal across the plate.
Cornell responded with a homer in the seventh to bring the final score to 9-2 with another win for UR.
The final game of the series started strong with UR taking a quick lead in the bottom of the second inning when Hipsman hit an RBI single to bring Sprague-Lott home.
Starting pitcher Mathes let up a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but quickly redeemed himself in the bottom of the inning by knocking a base hit to bring sophomore Chase Conklin across the plate. Beal scored on a wild pitch, advancing the Spiders to a lead of 4-2.
Mathes pitched into the ninth inning and had a career-high of 12 strikeouts, allowing four runs on six hits, four walks and one hit batter, according to the UR sports recap.
“He’s kind of a bulldog on the mound,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “He’s one of the best pitchers and at times you just don’t want to take him out.”
In the ninth inning, Mathes walked two pitchers before sophomore Vincent Corso entered the mound. Corso allowed three runs before sophomore Dane Armson got the final two outs of the game.
The Spiders face Towson University next at 2:30 on March 23 at the Pitt Field.
Contact sports writer Lucia Helmers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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