The softball team used two resounding victories over Dartmouth this weekend to position itself for a shot at the Ivy League championship when it faces Harvard today.
Because of inclement weather in Hanover, N.H., the second game of the Red’s Saturday doubleheader against the Green (9-20, 4-5 Ivy) was postponed until yesterday, pushing back the doubleheader against the Crimson (15-15, 6-2). Two wins today would move the Red (20-16, 6-3 Ivy) into second place in the conference behind Princeton (29-14, 8-2 Ivy). If this weekend’s play was any indication, the Red should be ready to make a run at the top.
“Everybody’s doing pretty well,” said Cornell head coach Dick Blood. “Our pitchers threw pretty well, and our hitters decided to come to life … It was good to see that. We’ll be tested [today]. We put ourselves in the hunt, now we need to follow through.”
In Saturday’s game against Dartmouth, freshman Jenna Campagnolo opened the hitting with a lead-off double to center field in the first inning. After rookie Ashley Wolf was walked to put runners on first and second, senior co-captain Lauren May connected and drilled the ball into the scoreboard in left field for her 12th homerun of the year to put the Red ahead, 3-0.
After a 25-minute rain delay, the Red’s bats lit up the field once more with three consecutive singles to load the bases. But, Dartmouth pitcher Angela Megraw got out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout to keep Cornell from opening up a larger lead.
Freshman Jen Meunier kept the Green off the board, earning a ground out from each of the first three Dartmouth batters.
The Red’s final tally came in the top of the third inning, when freshman Samantha Hara hit a solo homerun — her fourth of the year — to extend the Cornell lead to 4-0.
Hare’s dinger chased Megraw from the game, and Dartmouth called upon Karin Edwardson in relief. Edwardson stifled the Red offense, throwing 4 2/3 innings without giving up a hit. Blood said that Edwardson’s peel up pitch kept the Red off balance and off the board in the final stretch.
“When it went from one pitcher to the next we didn’t adjust well,” Blood said. “[But] our pitchers threw really well and we got through that.”
Meunier earned the win for the Red, allowing only two hits in the shutout and pushing her season record to 13-4.
The winning momentum stayed on the Red’s side through yesterday’s game, in which senior co-captain Erin Kizer went 3-3 at the plate and brought in five runs in the team’s 12-2, five-inning victory.
“It was a matter of adjustment,” Blood said. “We went in hoping that we learned a little bit [Saturday].”
The Red put Saturday’s lessons to work, running up a 4-0 lead in the first inning with Dartmouth’s Edwardson on the mound. May drove in a run, — her 34th RBI of the year — Kizer added an RBI of her own, and Hare brought home two in the early action.
Junior pitcher Whitney Smith went the distance for the Red, never allowing the Green to get back in the game.
“[The early leads] are a great help for the pitchers,” Blood said. “With a little breathing room they can be a little more aggressive out of the strike zone.”
Kizer stretched the lead to 6-0 in the second inning with a two-out single to right field that drove in two Cornell baserunners.
The Green switched pitchers, putting in Ashley Thorfinnson to try limit the damage. But, the Red’s scoring barrage continued unchecked in the fourth inning, when the Red doubled its lead to 12-0. Junior Caitlin Warren singled to bring home May, followed by a two-run double by Kizer to right center field. Hare hit a single down the right field line to drive in Kizer, and then crossed the plate herself on a left-field single from sophomore Lauren Battaglia. Battaglia scored on an error by the Green’s shortstop Kerry Conway.
The Green got its only two runs of the weekend on a two-run homer from Jodee Thompson. Smith made quick work of the Green in the fifth inning to end the game, throwing a strikeout and two ground outs to prevent a Green comeback. Smith gave up only four hits and struck out five for her fifth win of the season.
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Assistant Sports Editor