The Cornell women’s softball team kept on rolling yesterday, sweeping a tough Canisius squad 2-1 and 9-6, to extend its winning streak to an impressive 10 games.
The first game saw yet untested freshmen, Nicole LePera, put on a pitching clinic in her first start of the season. LePera held the Golden Griffins to a mere four hits, while striking out 10 and allowing only one earned run in a complete game effort. The outing established LePera as yet another threat on Cornell’s much improved pitching staff.
“Nicole pitched great over the weekend in relief and we felt she had earned a starting role in one of today’s games,” commented head coach Dick Blood. “She only made one mistake and otherwise pitched absolutely great for seven innings.”
LePera’s only mistake came in the fifth inning when she grooved a 1-0 pitch to Tempie Coelho-Freeman, who consequently went yard over the center-field fence.
However, the Griffins’ late effort was not enough to match the Red’s two-run offensive offering. Cornell’s run production came off a fielder’s choice RBI by freshman Melissa Cannon which scored Sandra Alvarez, and a solo home run by Sara Sinclair.
The second game was an offensive awakening for the Red bats which were somewhat silenced in the opener. Freshman Kate Varde and junior Christina Trout, who each had three hits for the Red, led the attack for Cornell.
The Red registered 14 hits in the contest, seven of which were doubles.
Annette Shephard also chipped in on the offensive free-for-all, smashing a two-run home run in the fourth inning.
The fourth inning also saw the Red take a 9-2 lead on back-to-back doubles by Kristen Hricenak and Trout. However, the party ended for the Red when the Griffs mounted a comeback in the game’s final two innings, coming within one swing of tying the score at 9-9. However, on the game’s final pitch freshman Sarah Sterman, pitching in relief of senior Nicole Zitarelli, got Jamie Guadagna to ground out with two runners on base ending the drama with a 9-6 victory.
“It was great to see our bats come alive in the second game. I think [the upperclassmen] are all more comfortable at the plate now with the offensive boost from the freshmen. We know that if we get on base, they can bring us home and if we don’t get on they’ll pick up our slack,” commented Trout after the second game.
Blood echoed Trout’s optimism for the steadily improving Cornell offense saying, “Everyone seems to be extremely focused at the plate and the entire line-up has really began concentrating on just putting the ball in play and making things happen.”
The sweep, although a non-league match-up, means a lot to this team which is heading into a very important weekend of Ivy League competition.
“This streak has really made our team realize that we can play with and beat Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend if we keep on playing like we have,” said Sheppard.
Interestingly enough, the Golden Griffins swept Harvard in two comeback wins just two weeks ago in a closely contested doubleheader at Canisius.
That should be a sign which bodes well for a Red squad that needs little more motivation than preserving the winning streak it carries into this weekend’s match-ups against Harvard (3-1) and Dartmouth (4-0).
Archived article by Scott Jones