The Cornell softball team (26-16, 9-3 Ivy) continued its habit of scoring early and often as it shutout Ithaca 7-0 and 5-0 in a doubleheader yesterday afternoon. Led by strong pitching efforts from freshman Jenn Meunier and junior Whitney Smith, the Red was able to keep the Bombers off the board and do enough damage at the plate to ensure a comfortable margin of victory in each contest.
“We hit the ball well from the start,” said Cornell head coach Dick Blood. “It was very critical that we jumped out early.”
The Red did just that in game one, as freshmen Jenna Campagnolo and Ashley Wolf each singled to start off the game. Senior co-captain Lauren May followed that up with another single to load the bases for sophomore Erin Murtha, who promptly knocked in Campagnolo and Wolf with a single up the middle.
The Red’s assault did not let up in the second, as May hit a two-run homer down the right field line and sophomore Sarah Ruben and Wolf each doubled to extend the Red’s lead to 5-0.
“[Ithaca] was really trying to pitch around May,” Blood said. “After she hit that homer, she didn’t see another pitch all day.”
On the mound for the Red, Meunier was able to shutdown the Bombers, specifically by defending against their “slap” hitting style.
“It was crucial that [Meunier and Smith] hit their spots,” Blood said. “If they didn’t, [Ithaca] would have been hitting balls through the infield.”
Murtha would add another RBI single and junior Caitlin Warren hit a sacrifice fly to bring the final score to 7-0.
The Red began the second game much like the first, as it again put two runs across in the first inning.
Wolf got the Red started with a one out double, followed by an intentional walk to May. Two batters later, senior co-captain Erin Kizer drove both in with an RBI double to left-center, staking junior starter Whitney Smith to a two-run lead.
“Kizer came up really big for us today,” Blood said.
While the Red’s bats went quiet until the sixth inning, the Bombers put together threats in the top of the fifth and sixth by getting two runners on in each inning with only one out. Smith was able to retire the next two batters in each frame by getting three groundouts and a harmless pop-out that extinguished the Bombers’ rally.
In the top of the sixth, the Red cushioned its lead when May drilled the first pitch she saw into left-field for a one-out double. Two batters later, Kizer drove her in when she connected with a single into left-field. Kizer was then driven in on the next pitch, as Warren hit a double to put the Red up, 4-0. Freshman Samantha Hare added the Red’s final run by knocking in Warren with a double to left-center.
The victories extend the Red’s winning streak to ten games heading into weekend doubleheaders with Quinnipiac and Columbia.