In its last Ivy League action of the season, the Cornell softball team (27-17-1, 10-4 Ivy) split a doubleheader with Columbia, dropping the first game, 7-0, before storming back in the second to win 11-3. The win was good enough to cement the Red’s second-place finish and bring its Ivy record to 10-4 for the third straight year.
“I’m really proud of the second-place finish,” said head coach Dick Blood. “It’s a good way to end the year.”
Before yesterday’s games, the Red was in Connecticut to play a scheduled doubleheader with Quinnipiac. Plans for playing two were ended abruptly, however, as rain forced the cancellation of the second game and forced the Red to take a 6-6 tie in the first.
“The rain was a bit unlucky,” Blood said. “The umpires made the right decision and there was nothing we could do.”
The Bobcats drew first blood in the see-saw battle by opening up a one run lead in the bottom of the first. The Red did not answer back until the fourth inning when sophomore Sarah Ruben hit an RBI double to tie the game.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Bobcats plated another run on a sacrifice fly to reclaim the narrow lead, and later stretched it to three runs with two RBIs in the fifth.
The Red finally kicked its offense into gear in the sixth inning, scoring five runs behind two RBIs each from Ruben and freshman Ashley Wolf.
Facing their final at-bats, the Bobcats rallied back from the two-run deficit to tie the game at six and force extra innings.
Just as it had throughout the game, the Red responded with runs of its own to create a five-run cushion. Unfortunately for the Red, play was stopped before it could take the field in the eighth and the score reverted to 6-6 — the score after the last full inning.
The Red would find no more luck in its first game the following day as it ran into one of the league’s best pitchers, Columbia’s Jackie Adelfio.
Adelfio stymied the Red’s bats through all seven innings, allowing only two hits and striking out seven.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Adelfio,” Blood said. “She was really tough and pitched brilliantly.”
While the Red failed to handle Adelfio, the Lions were able to plate six runs against Cornell starter, junior Whitney Smith, to cruise to a 7-0 win.
Game two proved to be a different story entirely, despite the fact that the Lions opened up a 3-1 lead through three innings.
Columbia was first to get on the scoreboard by scoring one run in the first off freshman starter Jenn Meunier. Sophomore Erin Murtha was quick to respond for the Red as she drove in Wolf with an RBI single to knot the game at one apiece.
“We didn’t want to fall behind again,” Blood said. “But, getting that one [run] back showed a bit of spark.”
The Lions would show some spark of their own in the next inning as they continued to pepper the field with singles on their way to scoring two more runs.
When the Lions threatened to widen their lead in the third inning, Blood knew it was time to change strategy.
“I went out to the mound and told [Meunier] to start pitching away [from the hitters],” Blood said. “We really needed her and after that she started hitting her spots.”
The Red would end the inning unscathed and never look back from there as Murtha continued powering the Red with a three-run homer in the bottom half of the inning.
“[Murtha] turned on the ball nicely,” Blood said. “That was a real big hit for us.”
The rally continued with junior Caitlin Warren and Ruben each hitting RBI singles to extend the lead to 6-3.
“Those runs gave us more breathing room and really allowed us to be more aggressive on the mound,” Blood said.
The scoring would not stop there as senior co-captain Lauren May added a solo homer, her 14th of the year, in the following inning to put the Red’s lead at four runs.
The Red clinched the game in the fifth when freshman Jenna Campagnolo followed classmate Adrienne Matta’s RBI single with a three-run homerun to give the Red an eight-run lead — good enough to end the game early.
“I’m really pleased with how we played,” Blood said. “We’ve really turned it on in the second half of the year.”
Archived article by Matt Gorman
Sun Staff Writer