Monday, April 18, 2011

Running On Empty

TigerBlog was driving back from the men's lacrosse game in Massachusetts when he realized that he was lower on gas than he thought.

The little counter that says how many miles he can go before he's empty was below 10, more like seven or so, when he got off the highway to fill up.

When he got to the top of the exit ramp, there was no little sign for gas pointing him in a specific direction, so he wasn't sure what to do. Randomly, he thought "left" and headed into that town.

Only it was a few miles until he got there, and once there, it was obvious there was no gas station in this town. When he saw a police car sitting in a speed trap, TB went over and asked him where the nearest station was. Back on the other side of the highway, TB was told.

So now the mileage counter was down to one, and that quickly turned to zero, as TB headed back the five or six miles to the highway.

Having never run out of gas, TB wasn't quite what to expect. Plus, he was on one of those little Massachusetts two-lane roads with no real shoulder, so if he stopped suddenly, he had no place to go anyway.

Eventually, he saw the highway and then, about a half-mile beyond it, a Sunoco station, one he would have found earlier had he simply gone "right" and not "left," as TB usually does.

When TB finally reached the station, he'd gone 5.4 miles since the counter went to zero. Like Kramer in an episode of "Seinfeld" during its not-as-funny period, TB wondered how far he could go before he would actually run out.

It was that kind of weekend for Princeton athletics, where most of the excitement was on the road.

Let's look at three teams, two of whom were on the road this weekend.

The baseball team entered the weekend tied with Penn on top of the Gehrig Division, and TB wrote last week that if those two got to the fourth game with one team having won two of three (as opposed to three of three), then that game would be huge.

Princeton lost Game 1 on Friday and then came back to take Game 2, setting up yesterday's second doubleheader.

With a lineup more suited for Little League, Princeton in Game 3 had Mike Ford pitching and batting fourth - and with good reason. Ford gave up two first inning runs and then blanked the Quakers the rest of the way, and he snapped a tie game with a double in the top of the seventh to give Princeton the 3-2 win. He ended the game with back-to-back strikeouts.

Game 4 was the nine-inning game, and that wasn't enough on this day, as Princeton needed 10 innings to get a 4-2 in. Ryan Alpert, who had homered earlier, doubled in two runs in the top of the 10th.

The result is that Princeton is 9-3 in the division, which leads Penn by two games and Columbia by three. Cornell is in fourth at 3-9.

The Tigers, who in fact have the best record in the league as Yale leads the Rolfe Division at 8-4, host Columbia for four games this weekend, including two on Easter Sunday and then play two at Cornell and two home against Cornell. Penn plays Cornell four times this weekend and then plays two home and two away against Columbia.

A wild part of the weekend? Princeton won three of four games but was outscored by the Quakers. After losing 12-4 in the first game, Princeton won two one-run games and one two-run game.

If you're looking for truly wild in Ivy sports this spring, you have to go to tennis.

On the women's side, there are two league matches to be played, with Dartmouth at Harvard and Yale at Brown. Should the home team win both, then there would be a five-way tie for the championship between those four and Princeton.

The Tigers are already done with the league schedule at 5-2. Yale and Dartmouth are 5-1; Brown and Harvard are 4-2.

In other words, with two matches left, there will either be an outright championship, co-champions or a five-way tie.

Should there be the five-way tie for the title, then all five teams would have to be 2-2 against each other and 3-0 against Penn, Cornell and Columbia, which would mean that none of the tiebreakers apply and, if TB is correct, the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament would have to be determined by a random draw.

Of course, the men's side has been equally as wacky this season.

Of the 21 matches played so far, 16 have been decided by a 4-3 score. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they were on the short end of the one they needed yesterday in Ithaca.

It was an event as excruciating as any played by a Princeton team since, oh, the men's squash team lost to Trinity in the 2009 national final and the men's hockey team lost to Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA tournament that same year.

Princeton and Cornell were both unbeaten heading into the match yesterday. Princeton lost two of the three doubles matches to Cornell in tiebreakers, and the Big Red won three singles matches in straight sets, though two included tiebreakers.

As a result, Cornell will represent the Ivy League in the NCAA tournament and be at least co-champion. Still, the Big Red have to play Columbia this weekend, and a Lions win would give Princeton a share of the title.

1 comment:

CAZ said...

An entire lifetime of leaning towards the Right and now all of a sudden you become a Leftist -- what gives?

BTW, BZ & LZ we're in town this weekend and both send there regards! Nothing funnier than watching Curb Your Enthusiasm with the Z boys!