March 12, 2004

Softball Takes Perfect Record on Road

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William Faulkner is noted for saying, “All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection.” Luckily for the softball team, Faulkner is not the head coach.

Instead, head coach Dick Blood and the rest of the squad hope that perfection is both attainable and probable as the team takes its perfect 5-0 record on the road this weekend for games against Villanova (7-10) and Drexel (3-6-2).

“Drexel and Villanova stack up very well against [us],” Blood said. “We are eager to get underway.”

The Red’s torrid start can be attributed to a number of factors, not the least of which has been the play of junior shortstop Lauren May, who already has notched four home runs, eight runs scored and 11 RBI in five games this season. May has been complimented offensively by catcher Melissa Heinz (two home runs, six RBI and a .500 batting average) and senior outfielder Erin Sweeney, who added an RBI and two runs scored in the Red’s Dixie Classic-winning blowout of Seton Hall last weekend.

Overall, it seems as if the Red sluggers have picked up exactly where they left off last year, when they finished the season eleventh in the nation in scoring with 210 runs, an average of 5.53 runs per game.

Blood anticipates this power-hitting trend to continue this weekend as Cornell takes the field with the Wildcats and the Dragons.

“Both teams have dominating pitchers with high strike out ratios,” Blood said. “We will need to stay away from strikeouts on offense and keep the ball in the park on defense.”

The Red will open up the weekend tomorrow in Philadelphia with a double-header against the Dragons, who are likely to start junior Elizabeth Fuller (2-2) in at least one of the games. Fuller leads the team with a 2.36 ERA and has limited batters thus far to a .227 average and no home runs in 34.1 innings. Cornell’s pitchers will also be on the lookout for freshman standout Lena Aiken, who has 14 hits in 34 plate appearances at this point in the season, including six runs scored.

Next, the Red will travel to Villanova for its second double-header of the weekend against the Wildcats. The squad’s stamina is sure to be tested in the final innings of the four-game weekend, and the Red will bank on receiving no sympathy from Villanova’s dominating right-hander Shannon Williams (7-5). Williams boasts a 1.52 ERA in 83 innings pitched this season, including holding opponents to a paltry .197 batting average. The Macungie, P.A. native already has recorded 61 strikeouts in the young season.

Yet, the Red’s pitching staff is not to be underestimated, either. Sophomore Whitney Smith gave up only two hits in a four-inning shutout last Sunday against Seton Hall, striking out two in the process. 2002 All-Ivy selection Sarah Sterman (2-0) has only given up ten hits and three runs in two games, only one of which was earned.

“None of our pitchers are true power pitchers but they do throw very well,” Blood said.

Next week, the Red will take its spring break to Florida for the Rebel Games tournament and the Stetson invitational.

Archived article by Kyle Sheahen