April 5, 2007

Meunier, Softball Down Sienna

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The softball team had to fight the elements as well as its opponent to win its home opener against Siena, 4-1, yesterday afternoon.
Though a doubleheader was scheduled, the umpires called the second game after only one complete inning. The Red (22-7) and its in-state rival will probably not reschedule the cancelled game since it was a non-conference matchup.
The team coasted to victory after jumping to a quick four-run lead in the first inning. Junior Jenna Campagnolo drove in two runs with a single to center field, and sophomore Meghan Risica drove in Campagnolo and freshman Elise Menaker with a single of her own, recording what would be the last RBI in the game for the Red.
“[The girls] came out swinging the bats hard and then we got a little complacent,” said head coach Dick Blood.
The Saints scored one run in the third inning off a single by Jennifer Granato, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the Red. Nevertheless, Blood considers this lack of aggressiveness to be a weak spot for the team.
“Some of our hitters are going up to the plate looking for a good pitch to hit,” Blood said. “And the usual philosophy is that [the pitchers] are not going to give it to you.”
Freshman Alyson Intihar, who was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for her performance this past weekend, fielded well at a different position than she normally plays. Though she is more of a second baseman than a “true college shortstop,” according to Blood, Intihar will fill in for regular starter Samantha Hare for a few games since the junior was called away from Ithaca on a family emergency.
“I was really glad we didn’t get rained out since we got to get [Intihar] a chance to play some at shortstop,” Blood said.
The Red’s pitching was also a bright spot on Niemand-Robinson Field. Junior Jenn Meunier pitched a complete game to record the win, her thirteenth of the season. She also had 8 strikeouts, two of which came in the final inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, Meunier struck out pinch hitter Lauren Weingart in three pitches.
The Red carried over that with two quick outs. Centerfielder Campagnolo made a diving catch to get the first out of the game, and Risica then caught a sharply-hit shot to left field. Though sophomore pitcher Haley Mirrer surrendered a home run by Jennifer Granato, she came back to strike out the next batter and bring the Red up to the plate.
In an ironic turn of events, the Red once again had a huge, 4-run inning early in the game. A big hit by catcher Nicole Cheever sent Campagnolo home for the team’s fourth, and apparently final, run as the already poor weather took a turn for the worst.
“The cold wasn’t too much of a factor … [The weather] wasn’t too bad,” Blood said. “It was very dry in the first game. I didn’t even feel a raindrop until the first inning of the second game.”
But home field advantage became a home weather disadvantage. What started as a light drizzle in the midst of the Red’s monster first inning turned into a downpour by the second. The tarp was hauled out and the game delayed with no outs and Sienna runners on first and third.
The Red, along with the rest of Ithaca, has probably not seen the last of yesterday’s inclement weather. The team is scheduled to host Dartmouth on Saturday and Harvard on Sunday.
“We’re going to keep our fingers crossed that we can get the games in this weekend,” Blood said.