As has been the case all season long for the Red, the softball team was hurt by inconsistency on its way to a split with local rival Canisius in yesterday’s double-header in Buffalo NY, dropping the first game 7-0 and winning the second 3-0.
“Each game was two completely different stories, two different faces to our team,” said head coach Dick Blood. “In the first game Canisius came out and just railroaded us, but in the following contest, we gathered our confidence and played clean and crisp softball.”
The evening started out on a sour note for the team, as Cornell’s sensational leadoff hitter – sophomore Ashley Wolf – was struck by a pitch in the very first at bat of the game, forcing her to be pulled immediately from the contest. She did not return for the second game.
Wolf, who currently leads the team in batting average (.411), hits (46), runs (22), stolen bases (six) and doubles (7), will undergo a X-ray on her wrist today to check the severity of the injury.
“Of course we hope that it is just a minor injury. She has had an absolutely outstanding year for us in the leadoff spot and we would like her to be back there as soon as we can,” Blood said.
In the first game, Cornell was simply overpowered by the Griffins’ Courtney Piar, who pitched six innings to pick up her seventh win on the year. Piar allowed no runs on two hits with one walk, striking out 11 Red hitters in the process.
“She was the real deal today, we pretty much did not have an answer for her at all,” Blood said.
However, Cornell had a chance to strike first in game one, as it put runners on first and third with nobody out in the bottom of the first inning and the heart of its order coming up. Junior Erin Murtha and sophomore Jenna Campagnolo each struck out, and senior co-captain Caitlin Warren popped up to end the inning.
Cornell would not get another good scoring chance the rest of the game and watched Canisius put up seven unanswered runs in the rout.
The Griffins blew the game wide open in the bottom of the fourth, as they took advantage of back-to-back errors by second basemen freshman Haley Mirrer, scoring six runs.
Senior co-captain Whitney Smith took the loss for the Red, going four innings while giving up seven runs on six hits and one walk. Much of that damage was not accredited to Smith, however, as she had only one earned run.
“For some reason we just don’t seem to play good defense behind Whitney. That is definitely a trend we need to reverse because she has been throwing pretty well all year,” Blood said.
The Red bounced back in the second game of the double header, playing the type of solid defense which helped it to take three of its four games against Ivy League foes last weekend, blanking Canisius 3-0.
Sophomore Jenn Meunier pitched a gem for the team to collect her ninth win on the year, going the distance while allowing only five hits no walks and striking out two. Her control was dazzling all game long, as she threw first or second pitch strikes to 25-of-28 batters she faced.
“Jenn pitched an outstanding ballgame,” Blood said. “She was very effective in getting ahead in the count and pounding the strike zone – it was a fantastic effort.”
Good pitching goes hand in hand with solid defense, however, and this game was a case in point as Meunier was backed by a Red defense that did not commit a single error.
“I think it was out most outstanding defensive effort all season long,” Blood said.
Cornell was led on offense by freshman Meghan Risica, who collected two hits and an RBI on the game. Murtha and Warren also had a hit and an RBI apiece.
“We have played very well four of the last six games and I think we are starting to really play with confidence,” Blood said.
Archived article by Lance Williams
Sun Staff Writer