April 14, 2006

Softball Takes Aim at Ivy Foes

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With double-headers on the road at Penn (14-20, 2-4 Ivy) tomorrow and Princeton (20-9, 6-0) on Sunday, the softball team will have a chance to move to first place in the Ivy League. However, the Red (18-17, 3-1) will have to find its way to the top without its offensive sparkplug, sophomore Ashley Wolf.

Wolf took a hard pitch off her wrist in Game 1 of a double-header against Canisius on Tuesday and did not return for the nightcap. X-rays later revealed that Wolf had indeed broken her left wrist, and will be sidelined for the rest of the season. Wolf, who had been enjoying a sensational season for the Red, led the team in batting average (.411), hits, runs, stolen bases and doubles, and had just been named Ivy League Player of the Week. Wolf earned the award on the strength of her 16-for-25 (.640) outburst, including six RBIs and a home run.

“She’ll be out for the year. We can’t make it into too big a factor, because we’ve got games to play, but any time you lose a player who can hit, field and run like that, its going to sting. But we are going to have to move on,” said head coach Dick Blood.

As a result of Wolf’s absence, Blood will be forced to tinker with his lineup.

“We’re experimenting with a couple of things, we may go with [freshman] Hailey Mirrer, a slapper, at the top of the lineup, or we may go with [sophomore Jenna] Campagnolo in the leadoff spot,” Blood said.

After starting off its Ivy slate with a 3-1 homestand last weekend, Cornell was plagued by inconsistency once more as it split a pair of road games with Canisius on Tuesday. The Red dropped Game 1, 7-0, before rebounding with a 3-0 win in Game 2.

Without Wolf, the Red will need others to step up and fill the void, including freshman slugger Meghan Risica, who leads the team in home runs (four) and RBI (19).

On the mound, the Red will turn to the familiar trio of sophomore Jenn Meunier, senior Whitney Smith and freshman Hailey Mirrer. With a 2.59 team ERA, the Red has been able to rely on strong pitching of late and will rely on its hurlers to shut down opposing offenses.

Penn boasts an explosive attack, with four players batting over .340. Led by sophomore shortstop Christina Khosravi, who is hitting at a .430 clip, the Quakers can put up runs in a hurry. The Penn pitching, however, is suspect, with a 4.66 team ERA.

“Penn has a potent offense. They are just crushing it, and can knock the ball around. But we should be able to take advantage of their pitchers,” Blood said.

Princeton currently leads the Ivy League rankings and will pose a tough test for the Red. Boasting the best pitching staff in the Ivy League, with a 1.59 team ERA, the Tigers will not give away any easy runs. Led by senior Erin Snyder, who holds the Tigers record for most all-time strikeouts, the Princeton pitching can bring it. Snyder is 10-3 on the year with a 0.78 ERA. Snyder can also pick it at the plate, with a .308 batting average. She is one of five Tigers to hit over .300 to this point in the season.

“It’s a tough task, but we are going to need our pitchers to hold the fort. They beat Brown, and put a whipping on Yale. They are a tough team,” Blood said.

Archived article by Jeremy Drucker
Sun Staff Writer