March 31, 2006

Softball Travels North to Siena

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After an intense Spring Break that saw the Red play 15 games in seven days, the softball team will begin its northern slate of games this Sunday with a doubleheader against in-state rival Siena (7-18). After playing all of its previous games in the warmth of Virginia and Florida, the Red will travel to Loudonville, N.Y., to tangle with the Saints.

“Having played them over the last several years, they have proven to be very similar [to Cornell]. They have good solid pitching and solid hitting, so they should be a handful,” said head coach Dick Blood.

The Red will try and turn around its season this weekend before beginning Ivy League play next weekend against Dartmouth. With a 12-13 record, the Red has been hovering around .500 all season long. Players point to a lack of consistency as the missing piece.

“We haven’t put all the pieces together yet. Sometimes our hitting is on, but we make errors on defense. Or, our defense will be good but we won’t be hitting well. We need to get everything going together at the same time,” said freshman outfielder Meghan Risica.

Risica has been one of the bright spots for the Red this season. In her first 19 games, she was batting .327 with three HR and 9 RBI. She thinks the Red can do better, and knows practice is the key to improvement.

“We have continued to work on our hitting, and we have been working on improving our communication on defense,” Risica said.

Blood thinks it’s just a matter of putting everything together at the same time.

“We have made a lot of errors, around two a game. Our pitching has done a nice job, but the errors hurt us. It’s not always the first error that hurts you, but we have been compounding our mistakes. [The Florida trip] went well. There were a lot of games, maybe some that we should have won but didn’t. It was a good experience,” Blood said.

The Red will send sophomore Jenn Meunier to the mound for the first game, while senior Whitney Smith will get the nod for Game 2. Freshman Hailey Mirrer will be active in relief.

“I think our last three games we got outstanding pitching. They are throwing the ball very well, and with a few more hits, we can get some more opportunities to win. Hailey Mirer will be making her first northern appearance. She has thrown very well, and is leading the team in strikeouts per nine innings. She has been a real boost for us thus far,” Blood said.

Junior Jennifer Griner will lead the way for the Saints. The speedy outfielder has been a real spark-plug this year, batting .360 with five stolen bases. Siena’s sophomore third baseman, Jennifer Granato leads the team in RBIs (16) and home runs (six).

As a team, Siena is hitting just .211 on the season, while its opponents averaging a hefty .350 at the plate. The Saint’s three starters all boast ERAs in the over five while Cornell’s hurlers have on averaged allowed only 3.18 earned runs a game this season.

Archived article by Jeremy Drucker
Sun Staff Writer