For the better part of the season, the softball team has been hovering around a mediocre .500 record, plagued by inconsistent play and inexperience. However, with a dominating performance yesterday against in-state rival Siena, the team seems primed to take on its upcoming Ivy League schedule.
The Red swept its two-game series against the Saints (7-22), taking the first game, 4-0, and the second, 8-0, yesterday at Siena Field in Loudonville, N.Y. With the two victories, Cornell (14-13) extended its winning streak to three games – tied for the longest such streak this season – and boosted its record above .500 for the first time in two weeks.
“Overall I think our team performed very well against Siena. We had an outstanding pitching effort and played solid defense,” said head coach Dick Blood. “Over the last six games or so, we have done both of these things exceptionally and it has allowed us to start winning a few more ballgames.”
In the first game, the Red was in control throughout the contest as it established a lead it would never relinquish in the very first frame with a run by sophomore Ashley Wolf.
Although Cornell’s offense was not overpowering, it steadily tacked on runs to protect its ever-growing lead. In the third inning, freshman catcher Nicole Cheever drove in a run with a base hit to right field, collecting her eighth RBI on the season.
Two innings later classmate Meghan Risica continued her impressive rookie campaign with a solo home run, increasing the lead to three runs.
Although the Red added another run in the next frame, sophomore pitcher Jenn Meunier did not need the support as she went the distance for Cornell, giving up only four hits and one walk while striking out nine Saints.
“Jenn did a great job of staying aggressive, throwing strikes and working ahead in the count,” Blood said. “She went right after the Siena batters, and partially due to the fact that they were missing their best two hitters, they never were able to figure her out.”
Leading the offensive charge for the Red was Wolf – who collected three hits with one run scored – and junior Erin Murtha added two hits and an RBI.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Cornell defeated Siena with the same formula that had proved successful earlier that day – outstanding pitching and solid defense.
Although the 8-0 score indicates a blow out, the Red was clinging to a two-run lead the entire game until a six-run outburst in the seventh finally put the Saints away.
Wolf was once again in the thick of the Cornell offensive attack as she led off the game in the first inning with a double and was later driven in by a Murtha base knock. Cornell added another run in the first frame as Risica drove in senior co-captain Caitlin Warren, who had previously reached on an error.
The two-run cushion was all that fellow senior co-captain Whitney Smith would need, as she cruised through the Saint lineup, allowing four hits and one walk in six innings of work.
Freshman Haley Mirrer also played a big part in the victory, as she launched her first collegiate home run – a two run shot – in the six-run seventh and later closed out the game on the mound, allowing no hits and no walks while striking out one.
“Although we still need to patch up the bottom of our order, if we continue to pitch and play defense like we did today, we will be a very competitive team the rest of the season,” Blood said.
Cornell was paced on offense by sophomore Jenna Campagnolo, who had three hits, including a solo home run, to go along with three RBIs and a run scored on the day.
Archived article by Lance Williams Sun Staff Writer