This past week, the Cornell softball team traveled to Florida for a full week of double headers at the Stetson Invitational and Rebel Games. Playing a total of 14 games, the Red used a combination of consistent pitching and timely hitting to win nine, and improve its record to 12-9 on the year.
“We struggled a little to put some teams away,” said Cornell head coach Dick Blood. “At the same time, [while] it was good to hang in there and get the wins, it was still a little cause for alarm.”
The Red started off the trip on a hot streak, winning three out of its four games at the Stetson Invitational.
Against Alabama A&M, the Red started off strong and never looked back, as it built up a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning, en route to a 8-2 win in the teams’ opener. Junior Whitney Smith started for the Red and pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings, while sophomore Beth Price and senior Lauren May provided the bulk of the offense with a home run and two hits apiece.
Game two against Iona provided some late-inning drama, as the Red found itself down 3-1 heading into the sixth inning. After senior Erin Kizer doubled in freshman Samantha Hare in the sixth, May tied the game with an RBI single in the seventh and Hare ended the game with a suicide-squeeze bunt to score the winning run.
“[Hare] played great all week,” Blood said. “She did a great job advancing runners.”
The following day, the Red again made short work of Alabama A&M, but could only muster two hits off Stetson starter Brittani Houghton en route to a 5-0 loss later in the day.
Following the weekend action, the Red made the short trip to Kissimmee for five days of doubleheaders at the Rebel Games.
Despite a strong pitching effort from Smith, who only gave up two runs on five hits, the Red dropped its first game to Troy, 2-0.
The Red’s bats awoke in the subsequent doubleheader against Hartford, providing freshman Jenn Meunier with just enough support to earn a complete-game victory, 5-4.
Freshman Jenna Campagnolo continued her consistent hitting at the top of the lineup, scoring three runs and driving in two with a fifth-inning homer. The Hawks fought back from a 5-2 seventh inning deficit with three straight extra-base hits, scoring two runs and threatening to tie the game until Meunier recorded three straight outs to seal the win.
“[Campagnolo] played marvelously all week,” Blood said. “She did a great job getting on base, as well as stealing a bunch of bases.”
The Red’s victory began a streak in which Cornell won five out of its next six games. Its only loss came to Iona in a game which Smith and freshman Jen Lesczinski combined to give up only three hits, but four errors by the Red gave the Gaels a 3-2 win. Campagnolo again played an important role for the Red, as she scored both runs and had two stolen bases.
In the first game that day, the Red won 6-3 over Siena behind six innings from starter Meunier and three hits from May.
“We had a couple of mental mistakes that cost us,” Blood said. “Overall though, the defense played solidly and withstood the pressure of many base-runners.”
The Red proceeded with its strong offensive performances and solid pitching in 11-1 and 5-1 victories over Niagara. Starters Meunier and Smith each got a win and allowed no earned runs, while Kizer had five RBI and freshman Ashley Wolf and May each had three hits.
“We’re getting great production from our first seven hitters thus far,” Blood said. “[Kizer] and [Hare] have been very productive down there and will continue to work on their mechanics.”
Cornell’s final two victories both came by a one-run margin, including a slim 2-1 win over Vermont and a 7-6 triumph over Hartford.
The Red’s trip ended with a pair of 8-0 losses to Albany in which it could not cool the Great Danes’ bats and managed only six hits of its own.
“They hit us really well and we couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Blood said. “Overall though, we learned a lot about our ball club.”
Archived article by Matt Gorman
Sun Staff Writer