March 29, 2002

Softball Splits Doubleheader

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The women’s softball team (13-9) was finally granted the accommodation of some game-worthy weather and responded by splitting a twinbill with Fairfield (14-17) yesterday at Neimand-Robison field. After falling short in extra innings in the day’s first game, 5-3, Cornell responded with a strong 3-1 effort to win the nightcap.

Nicole LePera pitched well for the Red in a complete-game loss, striking out six and allowing only three earned runs.

However, the Red offense did not respond to the sophomore pitcher’s efforts until the game’s final frame. A single by senior co-captain Christina Trout provided the heroics for the Red in the bottom of the seventh inning, producing the necessary two runs to send the game into extra innings.

However, the Stags made the most of their next chance to respond and cashed in three runs in the top of the eighth. The Red could only respond with a single run in the last half of the inning, and the emotional battle went Fairfield’s way.

“We’ve been really wired in some games lately and that hurt us in the first game,” said LePera of her team’s effort, “we were really sloppy defensively because of that nervousness.”

Cornell erased its miscues from the first game in the second half of the doubleheader and won a solid, well played game by two runs.

“We knew where our mistakes were…the offense was there. We just needed to get things together defensively,” said freshman Lauren May.

The revived play of the Red was evident immediately, as sophomore Erin Sweeney led off the first inning with a single up the middle. A passed ball and two sacrifice flies later, Sweeney brought in Cornelld al first run of the game. Sophomore Sandra Alvarez and May provided the fly balls that allowed Sweeney to make her way around the bases.

The Red’s final two runs were provided by a familiar source in the power duo of sophomore Kate Varde and May.

Varde hit her third home run of the season, a solo shot, in the third.

May continued her chase of Varde’s single season home run record by slamming her eleventh dinger in the fifth inning. The combination has become the focal point of Cornell’s offense while the rest of the line-up struggles to find its rhythm at the plate.

The Stags could only muster one run off sophomore Sarah Sterman who earned her seventh win of the season. Sterman allowed only five hits and notched six strikeouts in a complete game effort.

“We really came together in the second game,” said May, “everyone just seemed a little more focused.”

Focus is something that will be important for Cornell as it enters one of the most highly competitive Ivy League seasons in recent memory.

“We are getting stronger with every game and that’s a good thing at this point in the season,” commented LePera on the team’s outlook.

The Red looks to carry the momentum of yesterday’s second game victory to Siena next Thursday when it plays a 3 p.m. doubleheader against its in-state rival.

Archived article by Scott Jones