May 4, 2006

Red Sweeps Bearcats

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After closing out its Ivy League schedule with four consecutive wins to claim sole possession of second place, the softball team continued its winning ways yesterday as it swept a doubleheader against local rival Binghamton in convincing fashion, taking the first game, 7-1, and the second, 10-0.
The Red (30-23, 11-3 Ivy) has now won five of its last six games as it prepares for its season finale on Saturday against Quinnipiac.
“Obviously, I am very pleased with the team’s effort today,” said head coach Dick Blood. “We not only played with a lot of confidence, something we have not done a lot of this season, but also competed as a team.”
Cornell – which has won its last five contests against the Bearcats (12-30, 5-13 America East) – dominated both contests from start to finish, flexing its muscles in all three phases of the game.
On the mound sophomore Jenn Meunier continued her recent success by picking up her 16th victory and 17th complete game on the year. She went the distance while allowing no runs on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
The story of the day, however, was the offense, as the Red bats connected early and often, lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 17 runs. Senior co-captain Caitlin Warren started off the barrage in the top of the first with a RBI-double and the Red would never look back.
After tacking on four more runs in the top of the fourth, sophomore Samantha Hare put the game away two innings later with her first home run on the season – a two-run shot to center.
Even the defense – which has been the Red’s Achilles heel all season – could not have played better, as Cornell finished both contests without a single error.
In Game 2 the Red picked up right where it left off, tallying three runs in the first inning to open up a lead they would never relinquish. Sophomore Jenna Campagnolo led off the game with a single, advanced to second on Hare’s sacrifice bunt, and scored on junior Erin Murtha’s RBI knock to center.
Warren then stroked an RBI-double to score Murtha and later crossed the plate herself on freshman Jessica Berkey’s RBI-single.
After tacking on another run in the second, the score stood at 4-0 before Cornell – led by its talented freshmen – opened up the floodgates in the fourth. Campagnolo led off the frame with a single and scored on Murtha’s double.
Freshman catcher Nicole Cheever then proceeded to launch her fourth collegiate home run, a three-run shot to dead center to make the score 8-0.
Not to be outdone by their classmate, Berkey then jacked a pitch over the right field fence and freshman Meghan Risica smoked the ball over the left field fence to complete the Red’s first back-to-back-to-back home-run performance on the season, putting the game out of reach for an overmatched Binghamton squad.
“We just had our hitting shoes on all day and had quite a few two-out base hits. I can’t really explain it other than we were very aggressive at the plate and it paid off for us,” Blood said.
Freshman Haley Mirrer then retired six of the final seven Bearcat batters to force the “mercy rule” for the first time this season. Mirrer picked up her ninth victory for the Red, pitching five scoreless innings while allowing only two hits and striking out eight Bearcats.
“We set three goals for ourselves for the end of the year: No. 1, to finish strong in the Ivy League, No. 2, to secure a record over .500, and No. 3, to get to 30 wins,” Blood said. “As of today, we have accomplished all three of those goals and I could not be more proud of my team right now for not giving up.”

Archived article by Lance Williams
Sun Staff Writer