The Ivy League portion of its schedule may be over, but the season continues for the women’s softball team. The Red (25-19) will host the cross-town Ithaca Bombers (28-10) in an afternoon doubleheader today.
The visitors from the South Hill have been nothing short of spectacular this season. The Bombers have won the Empire 8 championship and are riding a seven-game winning streak into today’s contests.
“They’re a fine ball club, and every time we face them we know we’re in for a dog fight,” summed up head coach Dick Blood.
Ithaca has found success both at the plate and on the mound. Seven stalwarts in the lineup have batting averages of over .300, including catcher Kristin Furdon, who leads the club with seven homers and 32 RBI. Third baseman Kerri Barber has also been dangerous with the bat, as she is second to Furdon in both home runs (3) and RBI (24).
“They are a bunch of solid, disciplined hitters,’ explained Cornell sophomore pitcher Sarah Sterman, “we’ll need to make them hit pitches we want them to hit because they’ll be patient and take walks.”
The Bombers have also received great pitching from hurlers Abbey Pelot and Abby Hanrahan. Pelot has accrued a 1.41 ERA over her 18 starts and has won 13 of her 17 decisions. However, Hanrahan is the strongest threat for the Red, having won 14 games on the season. She has a 1.49 ERA and has held opponents to a .192 batting average. As a staff, Ithaca has limited its opponents to a batting average below .200.
Cornell comes into the twin bill after sweeping Columbia in its final Ivy weekend. The Red, on the strength of 14 scoreless innings from sophomore pitcher Sarah Sterman, prevailed in two close duels to finish the league season in third place.
“It was a real confidence boost for us,” said Blood, “we’ll need that energy to finish strong and compete with teams like Ithaca College.”
For the Red, Sterman has been nearly unhittable this season, especially as of late. She has not allowed a run in 22 consecutive innings and has tossed three consecutive shutouts. Her 1.22 ERA and 17 wins are both tops on the staff.
Freshman Lauren May continues to swing a hot bat, leading Cornell with a .386 batting average. She hit a two-run single to give the Red its only runs of a 2-0 victory over Columbia on Saturday.
If the Red hopes to receive a bid to the four-team ECAC tournament in a couple weeks it will probably need to sweep its remaining seven games. The tournament is a postseason invitational that draws from a field of 64 ECAC teams according to strength of schedule and record. It will be the Red’s goal for the remainder of the season and the Bombers will be its first obstacles today.
“We’re in a really good state of mind,” finished Sterman, “we know we can play ball and now we just have to go out there and do it.”
The first game of today’s doubleheader will begin at 3:30 pm at Niemand-Robison Field.
Archived article by Alex Ip