April 16, 2007

Softball Splits Series With Rival Penn in Philadelphia

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The penchant for extremes demonstarted by Ithaca weather followed the softball team to Philadelphia this weekend. Yet, Cornell (27-8, 8-2 Ivy) maintained its stance at the top of the Ancient Eight standings after splitting with Penn on Saturday, 4-0 and 6-5, in a doubleheader that featured surges and lapses from both teams.
Though Cornell came out on top in the first game, 4-0, solid pitching and defense overshadowed a lackluster Red offense.
“Nobody really got on track in that game,” said head coach Dick Blood. “Nobody hit the ball very well.”
Cornell had only a one-run lead going into the seventh. In the fourth inning, freshman Elise Menaker had notched her fifth home run of the year to put the Red ahead. In the seventh, Cornell’s bats came alive just as Penn’s defense began to break down. [img_assist|nid=22912|title=Liftoff.|desc=Freshman Elise Menaker (right) — who hit her fifth home run of the year on Saturday — hits a blast in a game against Siena on April 4. G. Scott Russ/Sun Staff|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=67]
After Penn’s pitcher walked leadoff batter junior Jenna Campagnolo, the Red went on to score three runs in the inning off a double, a passed ball and an error by Penn junior shortstop Christina Khosravi.
In her return to the team after a weeklong absence, junior shortstop Samantha Hare had a crucial role in the Red’s offense. She hit a single to center field that drove in the fourth and final run that clinched the Red’s win.
“She had a big hit in the seventh,” Blood said. “It’s good to have her back.”
Junior Jenn Meunier (15-3) shut down Penn’s vaunted offense in the first game, allowing only four hits and no runs in seven innings. She also had seven strikeouts, including one each on Quaker stars Khosravi and Annie Kinsey, who combined for a 1-for-5 outing at the plate.
“Meunier pitched beautifully. She had her change-up working and her fastball working. She did a great job holding their bats at bay,” Blood said.
Sophomore Haley Mirrer, however, ran into trouble on the mound early in the second game. First up to bat for the Quakers, Kinsey hit a home run to give Penn the first lead of the game.
Though sophomore designated player Jessy Berkey hit a home run of her own in the top of the second, giving Cornell a 2-1 lead. Kinsey answered with her second shot over the wall in the bottom of the second. With her performance this weekend, Kinsey brought her season total to eight home runs and re-took Penn’s single-season home-run record from senior teammate Stephanie Reichert.
Khosravi’s homer in the bottom of the fifth gave Penn a 6-3 lead, which it held until late in the game when Cornell staged a seventh-inning rally. Hare started it off with a single down the right-field line, and Menaker’s single with the bases loaded sent two runners home and brought the score to 6-5.
The Red then had the chance to tie it up and even take the lead. With one out and runners on first and third, Campagnolo hit a fly ball to the outfield. Freshman Devon March took off from third after the ball was caught, but she was tagged out at the plate after a beautiful throw from right field.
That was the last play of the weekend, as the second doubleheader was postponed due to the rain yesterday. According to Blood, it will be rescheduled for early this week.