Cornell women’s softball had its best stretch of the 2016 season this past week, winning four of its past six games against Albany (24-11, 7-0 America East) and Columbia (11-26, 4-8 Ivy).
Cornell (8-22,3-9) squared off against Albany on Wednesday, winning the first matchup, 6-3, and exploding offensively for a 14-2 victory in the second game.
Dominant pitching from sophomore Maddie Orcutt and senior Meg Parker kept a talented Albany offense from tacking on runs. Both pitchers worked around several jams to prevent the Greyhounds from rallying. The Red also produced a solid defensive effort and continued its trend of constant improvement in the field.
“Our defense has sharpened up and we continue to hit the ball with power,” said head coach Julie Farlow ’97.
Cornell had struggled to produce efficient run support early in the season, which contributed to many close losses. But now, the offense, sparked by some returns from injury, appears to be firing on all cylinders.
Freshman infielder Kim Dolhon’s return to the lineup has bolstered the Cornell offense, according to Farlow. Dolhon hit two home runs in the series with Albany.
“Kim’s been battling injury all year so it’s nice to get her back on the field,” Farlow said. “She’s providing good defense at shortstop and her bat has added depth to our line-up.”
Sophomore infielder Megan Murray has also come alive offensively for the Red recently, knocking in four RBI for the Red.
Over the weekend, the Red split a four-game series with Columbia. On Saturday, Cornell won the first match up, 6-3, before falling in the second game, 11-4. On Sunday, Cornell lost a tightly contested game, 4-3, before going on to win the final game of the series, 7-2.
Cornell produced a balanced offense throughout the weekend, with junior outfielder Jessica Bigbie and senior infielder Emily Weinberg leading the way. In the first game of the series, Bigbie tallied three hits, two RBI and two runs scored. In the final game of the series, Weinberg added three hits, one RBI and one run scored.
The past six games have been significant for the Red for several reasons. Not only did the team come away with four victories, the Red also learned a lot about what it takes to perform consistently and the concentration needed to sustain a positive stretch of play, according to Farlow.
“Those games showed how well we have to play in order to walk away with [wins],” Farlow said. “They also showed that offensively, we need to make quick adjustments to the opponent’s pitchers.”
Cornell will bring its confidence and experience into road series with Binghamton (21-12, 7-2 America East) and Penn (15-19, 3-9).
“We need to continue to play aggressively,” Farlow said. “We need to be a threat offensively to help support our pitchers and the rest of the defense.”
Cornell has shown over the past six games that it has the offensive talent to produce solid run support. After a rocky start to the season, Cornell now appears capable of being competitive with every opponent on its schedule.