April 22, 2005

Softball Takes On Two Ivy Foes

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Coming off a resounding win over Syracuse on Wednesday afternoon, the Cornell softball team (20-16, 5-3 Ivy) is slated to face Ivy foes Dartmouth (8-16-1, 4-4 Ivy) and Harvard (13-15, 6-2 Ivy) in doubleheaders this weekend. These contests should prove crucial in determining this year’s Ivy League champion as the Green sits just below the Red, while the Crimson has a one game advantage over Cornell in standings.

“[In the Ivy League,] you’ve got to beat everybody,” said Cornell head coach Dick Blood. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us.”

The Red’s effort will be aided by momentum from its latest win, a 6-5 victory over the Orange. Senior co-captain Lauren May provided all the offense, going 3-for-3 with six RBIs. Freshman pitcher Jenn Meunier held the Orange bats in check, giving up only nine hits in seven innings.

“We’re really excited,” Blood said. “[The win] has given us much more confidence.”

The Red’s confidence will be tested first against the Green in tomorroow afternoon’s doubleheader.

Despite a sub-.500 record, the Green boasts a dangerous lineup and pitching staff that has already garnered wins over Brown, Yale, and Penn, including a sweep of the Bears.

The Green’s offense is led by senior infielder Kerry Conway, who leads the team with a .325 batting average and 12 runs scored. On the mound, the Green use four different pitchers, with freshman Angela Megaw leading the team with a 2.85 ERA.

The Red will receive no respite the next day when it will travel to Cambridge, Mass., to take on second-place Harvard.

With sweeps of Penn and Brown and wins against Yale and first-place Princeton, the Crimson has been making a strong early-season run at the top of the Ancient Eight.

Harvard features an offensive attack led by senior Lauren Stefanchik, who leads the team with a .397 batting average. The Crimson lineup is not without its share of power hitters, as freshman Danielle Kerper is near the top of the league in homers (5) and RBIs (21).

The Crimson also has the pitching staff to provide a complement to its dangerous bats. Shelly Madick leads the team with a 2.12 ERA and opponents are hitting only .186 against her.

“[Each team] has solid hitting and pitching,” Blood said. “[Our hitters] are going to be challenged every time at bat.”

If recent play has been any indication, the Red should more than be up to the challenge. Behind May’s .800 batting average, three homeruns and nine RBIs the Red has won its last four games. While May has been on a torrid pace at the plate, the Red’s defense and pitching has proven to be the difference, as three of Cornell’s last four wins have been by just one run. Meunier has earned three of the wins, including a 1-0 decision against Yale that was decided in the Red’s final at-bat.

“We’re just going to hone in on hitting their spots and continue being aggressive at the plate,” Blood said. “Hopefully the momentum can carry through this weekend.”

Archived article by Matt Gorman
Sun Staff Writer