The softball team split its first four games of the 2006 season with wins over Niagara and George Mason, and losses to Mount Saint Mary’s and Niagara at the George Mason Patriot Classic in Fairfax, Va.
The opening game was a hard-fought battle with Mount Saint Mary’s. The Red was behind 6-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning when coach Dick Blood turned to the bench for a spark to pull the Red back into the game, and senior captain Caitlin Warren came to the plate for a huge pinch-hitting appearance. Although Warren had just finished the varsity hockey season, Blood knew he could count on Warren to fill this role, which above all else, requires an experienced and patient hitter. Warren came through in the clutch and roped an RBI single into the outfield, tying the game up, 6-6.
At the end of the seventh inning Cornell and Mount Saint Mary’s were still locked in a 6-6 tie, so the game went to extra innings. Mount Saint Mary’s knocked in two unearned runs in the top of the eighth, and even with its rally caps on, the Red just couldn’t summon up another late miracle to salvage the game.
Jenn Meunier pitched well, throwing all eight innings and only walking three batters. If it wasn’t for two costly errors in the top of the eighth that led to the two Mount Saint Mary’s runs, the Red would have been in position to win the game.
In the second game against Niagara, starting pitcher and senior captain Whitney Smith was pulled after the third inning where she let up the only four runs of the contest. Freshman Haley Mirrer made her Cornell debut and pitched three scoreless innings of relief. Junior Sarah Reuben knocked in a sac fly, but that was the only offense the Red could generate all afternoon.
Mirrer wasn’t the only freshman to shine this past weekend. Meghan Risica hit two bombs for the Red over the four games and according to Smith, “she’s the up and coming Lauren May,” referring to the two-time Ivy League Player of the Year.
Sunday, the team played two grudge matches that it was anticipating after earlier defeats. The early game for Cornell was again against Niagara, but the tone of that game was entirely different from the 4-1 loss on Saturday. The Red slaughtered Niagara 9-0 in a game that was never close.
The later game was against George Mason. Last year, George Mason scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to make an astonishing comeback. This time things worked out better for Cornell, and with the help of a huge solo shot by Warren, the Red secured a solid 7-3 victory. The win was Mirrer’s first complete game pitched.