April 4, 2003

Sweeney Hammers Two Homers in Softball's Win

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On a wet, cold afternoon, the softball team (13-3) came from behind to defeat Siena (3-10) by an 8-5 score yesterday. Junior Erin Sweeney led Cornell’s offensive charge, slamming two home runs, including the go-ahead grand slam. Classmate Kate Varde also homered, hitting a three-run shot.

The game didn’t start well for the Red, though, as Siena took an early 2-0 lead. The Saints struck for single runs in the first and the third. Sarah Rose drove in Siena’s first run, doubling home Carrie Gatz, who had led off the game with a single. The Saints scored their second run on a Cornell defensive miscue, as an errant throw on a stolen base attempt allowed pitcher Tara Campell to score from third.

The Red struck back in the bottom of the third, as Sweeney launched a solo shot to halve the deficit.

Leading 2-1, Siena extended its lead to 4-1 in the top of the fifth, as Adrian St. Cin hit a bases-loaded two-run single. The run-scoring hit came after junior pitcher Sarah Sterman ceded two singles and a walk.

In the bottom of the inning, Cornell finally put a serious dent in the Siena armor. Sweeney got on base via a fielder’s choice before junior co-captain Melissa Cannon reached on an error. With runners on first and second, Varde hit a gargantuan three-run shot to even the score.

“Kate Varde hit a huge home run,” Cornell head coach Dick Blood said. “That ball was really crushed.”

The deadlock was short-lived, however, as Siena immediately regained the lead in the top of the sixth. Rose drove in the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly, plating Campbell to give the Saints the 5-4 advantage.

Cornell was unfazed by the deficit, though, taking the lead on a grand slam from Sweeney in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore Melissa Heintz walked to open the inning. Sophomore Erin Kizer and senior Drew Martin greeted relief pitcher Tisha Salamino with singles to load the bases. With the bases packed, Sweeney drove a pitch over the center field wall to give the Red its first lead of the game and an advantage it would not relinquish.

“She had a career day. She hit the ball well the other day against Drexel and she’s carried that over,” Blood said. “She had a big day today and we needed every bit of it, too.”

Junior pitcher Sarah Sterman pitched a perfect seventh inning to up her record to 9-2 on the season. Meanwhile, Salamino took the loss, with Campbell getting a no-decision despite five innings of solid work.

“Both pitchers did a marvelous job despite the frigid temperatures,” Blood said. “It was just too cold for softball. I thought that both teams played good defense despite the poor conditions.”

For the Red, which had been relying on strong pitching and had taken large leads in recent games, yesterday’s game showed the team’s versatility and resiliency.

“For us, it was a matter of getting three balls out of the yard. All three home runs accounted for all the runs. It was nice to get some clutch hitting. Our kids really did a nice job of battling at the plate,” Blood said. “It was really nice to come back.”

Cornell will open the Ivy portion of its schedule when it travels to Columbia tomorrow for a doubleheader.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Blood said of the start of the Ivy campaign. “Columbia is very stingy. I know that their pitching is really tough.”

Cornell will then play Manhattan in a Sunday morning twinbill.

Archived article by Alex Ip