Untouchable. That’s the only way to describe sophomore pitcher Sarah Sterman, who extended her consecutive scoreless streak to 37 innings after pitching the women’s softball team to a 3-0 win at Binghamton. With Sterman’s stellar pitching and offensive contributions from senior co-captain Annette Sheppard and sophomore Melissa Cannon, the Red (28-19, 8-6 Ivy) extended its winning streak to five games.
The game was scoreless until the top of fourth inning when Sheppard delivered an RBI double off the right field fence. With sophomore Sandra Alvarez on second and senior co-captain Christina Trout on first, both of whom reached base on fielder’s choice plays, Sheppard hit a blast that eluded Binghamton right fielder Leigh Ann Savidge to score Alvarez. Sophomore Erin Sweeney then laid down a suicide squeeze to score Trout, giving the Red a 2-0 advantage. Later in the inning, Cannon lined a single to score Sweeney for Cornell’s final run.
The three-run cushion was more than enough for Sterman, the two-time Ivy League Pitcher of the Week. Sterman allowed just three hits and no free passes in her seven innings of work.
“She was ahead of the hitters from pitch number one,” Cornell head coach Dick Blood said.
In addition to getting ahead of the count, a key to Sterman’s success was her ability to mix speeds on her pitches.
“She really used the breaking ball to set up the fastball,” Blood noted.
In the shutout, Sterman also struck out five batters, giving her 137 on the season. She is now just two strikeouts away from tying the single-season Cornell record established by Julie Westbrock ’99.
While the Red has two of the most feared power hitters in the Ivy League in the forms of freshman Lauren May and sophomore Kate Varde, the team has recently won with a different style of play. Rather than scoring via the longball, Cornell has resorted to “small ball.”
“We’ve had to use a lot of suicide squeezes and sacrifice bunts,” Blood acknowledged. “The middle of the order has been struggling, so we’re trying to advance runners.”
“It’s a lot different than we’re used to,” he continued.
The second half of the scheduled doubleheader was wiped out due to rain.
As Cornell heads into the final weekend of the season, it will embark upon roadtrips to Boston College and UConn, both powers of the vaunted Big East Conference.
“We’re very excited about the upcoming week,” Blood said. “UConn’s a treat.”
There are also tangible goals that the Red can be reach with good performances this weekend, namely the ECAC Tournament.
“If we play well, the postseason is a possibility,” Blood commented.
Archived article by Alex Ip