In a commanding performance which solidified its position at the top of the Ivy League, the softball team swept Harvard and Dartmouth on Sunday and Monday by a combined score of 28-7. Displaying a balanced attack from the mound and in the batter’s box, the Red (20-4, 5-1 Ivy) hit 14 home runs over the four league contests.
On Sunday, six different batters hit a combined nine home runs for Cornell, including three by junior Kate Varde. The Crimson (5-19, 0-2 Ivy) held a lead only once in each game, as the Red won Game One 6-4, followed by a 10-2 victory in the nightcap.
Varde began the scoring in Game One with a two-out solo home run in the opening frame, followed by an RBI single in the third to bring in junior captain Melissa Cannon.
Harvard then responded with a four-run inning in the bottom of the third, as Rachel Goldberg and Laura Miller each hit two-run homers.
“After those two home runs by Harvard, I went to the mound and said, ‘We’re going to score some runs today Sarah, let’s start throwing pitcher’s pitches.’ And she responded as she always does,” said head coach Dick Blood.
And her teammates also responded, as promised.
After sophomores Erin Kizer and Melissa Heintz reached base in the top of the fourth inning, junior Erin Sweeney responded with the most important contribution of the day. With two outs and runners on second and third, Sweeney was able to drive a ball over the left field fence, regaining the Cornell lead for good.
Heintz added a solo home run to the score sheet in the top of the sixth, to solidify the 6-4 score.
Junior Sarah Sterman struck out seven, while only walking one to earn the complete game victory for the Red.
Sophomore Lauren May got things going for the Red in Game Two, belting a solo shot to center field in the second inning. The Crimson would take the lead in the bottom of the third, with the help of an RBI double from Sara Williamson. An error on a stolen base attempt would consequently give Harvard the early 2-1 lead.
Cornell would respond with vigor, however, scoring an impressive nine unanswered runs, eventually forcing the mercy rule into effect.
Kizer hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning, making the score 5-2. Cannon, Varde, and May would then increase the Cornell lead to 8-2 with back-to-back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning.
Varde added another dinger in the sixth, while Kizer earned her fourth RBI of the day with a one-run single.
Freshman hurler Kristen Landis struck out three in her first Ivy League start, going the distance while scattering a mere eight hits.
“[Landis] did a great job shutting the door on Harvard. We’re real proud of her,” said Blood, whose team swept Harvard on the road for the first time in the program’s history.
Varde went 5-for-7 on the day and became Cornell’s all-time home run queen with the 26th four-bagger of her career.
The six home runs in Game Two were also a school record, breaking the mark of five set in April 2001 against Dartmouth.
“Everyone was really excited about all the home runs we hit,” said Blood. “I think we had a lot of confidence at the plate, watching all those balls going out of the ballpark.”
On Monday, the Red continued its dominance, toppling a struggling Dartmouth team (4-13, 1-3 Ivy), 6-1 and 6-0. The sweep extended Cornell’s win streak to six, including 12 of its last 13.
The pitching staff was particularly brilliant as Sterman and Landis combined to give up just nine hits and one run in the doubleheader.
Varde once again notched Cornell’s first two RBI in Game One, with a sacrifice in the first and a double in the third to score Cannon. Varde scored Cornell’s third run on a Dartmouth error in the fifth, while Heintz made it 4-1 in the sixth off a 2-0 Danica Giugliano pitch, which she took to straightaway center field.
Junior Sandra Alvarez finished the scoring in the seventh, when she scored on an error from third after hitting an RBI triple.
Sterman earned the win, upping her season record to 13-3.
Game Two saw a dominating performance by Kizer who went 3-for-3 with two home runs.
Kizer’s first shot came in the second inning, while her fourth inning two-run offering made it a 3-0 ballgame.
May then hit a solo shot in the sixth — her seventh of the season — to continue the onslaught.
Cannon finished the scoring in the seventh inning, driving home Landis with a two-run home run to center field.
Landis pitched brilliantly to up her season mark to 3-0. She struck out four batters, while shutting out the Big Green for 5.2 innings. Sterman finished the job, pitching 1.1 innings of no-hit ball.
“While our hitters did a great job for us, I was particularly pleased with the work of our pitching staff over all four games,” concluded Blood.
Cornell returns to action today, as it heads to St. Bonaventure for a non-league doubleheader set to begin at 3 p.m.00000
Archived article by Scott Jones