April 5, 2006

Softball Set for Home-Opener

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The Cornell softball team plays its home opener today in a double header against St. Bonav-enture. Coming off a sweep of Siena and wins against Wisc-onsin-Green Bay, the Red (14-13) is looking to extend its winning streak to five this afternoon at Niemand-Robison Field.

The Red lineup is starting to click. There are five players at the heart of the lineup that are really producing for Cornell. Freshman phenomenon Meghan Risica, junior Erin Murtha, sophomore Jenna Capagnolo, senior captain Caitlin Warren and junior Lauren Battaglia have accounted for 67 of the Red’s 96 RBIs this season. They also have drilled 12 of the Red’s 14 home runs.

“Everyone’s contributing and we don’t have to depend on any one player,” Warren said.

With Capagnolo hitting for power so far this season, she has been moved to the 6-hole and Ashley Wolf is now batting lead off. At .345, her batting average ranks second-best of all the Red’s hitters.

After making too many errors in their opening games including the two tournaments they played in Florida over spring break, the Red has been concentrating on their defensive skills.

“In Florida, our defense was a little rocky, but it was one our first times outside and things have definitely been getting better,” Warren said. “But against Sienna, everything came together. Our bats came alive and we’re playing great softball now.”

Senior captain Whitney Smith and the pitching staff have also been improving. Both wins over Sienna last weekend were shutouts, with all three pitchers contributing to some portion of the to the line of zeroes on the scoreboard.

“It’s all contagious; we build off each other,” Smith said. “Once the defense was playing well we just fed off of that energy as a pitching staff.”

St. Bonaventure enters today 7-12, and has been having trouble as a squad. But the Red isn’t taking them lightly. After a six-game slide the Bonnies have split their last two series. Thus far, St. Bonaventure has been led by Joelle Brunetto and her.304 batting average. The power in their lineup has been coming from Brianna Bricker who already has four home runs. Molly McCarthy has a 2.33 ERA, the lowest out of the pitchers on the team, though she has only started seven games so far this season.

“St. Bonaventure is a team we’re capable of beating twice,” Smith said. “But we have to go out after them because last year they upset us in a game we should have won and all of our returning players remember that game.”

Even though Cornell is going to be cautious and will come into the game ready to play, the Red feel confident about the way the team is playing right now.

“Every team goes through its ups and downs,” said Smith. “Right now we’re on a big up and we have to take advantage of that.”

Archived article by Lance Polivy
Sun Staff Writer