March 4, 2008

Softball Successful at George Mason Classic

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Last year, the softball team started the season with four wins at the George Mason Classic before going on to win the first 12 games of the year, giving the Red its best start in Cornell history. Over the weekend, the women opened the season with a win over Quinnipiac, but could not match last season’s start as they lost to the host George Mason Patriots in the second game on Saturday. The Red won its two games on Sunday to finish the weekend at 3-1.
Cornell opened the weekend by letting Quinnipiac jump out to a two-run lead through the fifth inning. After senior pitcher Jenn Meunier held Quinnipiac scoreless in the sixth and seventh, the Red scored four runs in the bottom half of the seventh inning to take the 4-2 lead. The scoring was courtesy of two two-run homers — the tying blast from sophomore Elise Menaker and the go-ahead home run from junior Jessy Berkey.
Berkey’s roundtripper with sophomore Devon March on base proved to be the game winner, as Meunier retired the side in the top of the seventh to give the Red the win. Meunier finished with a complete game three-hitter, striking out five while allowing only one earned run.[img_assist|nid=28511|title=Wind it up|desc=Last year the Red swept the Classic on the way to a 12-0 start. This year Cornell lost its second game, but still finished 3-1.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Cornell faced George Mason in the second game of Saturday’s double-header and found itself in another low-scoring pitcher’s duel. Despite an extremely strong performance from freshman pitcher Ali Tomlinson in her first career start — two runs in a 7 2/3 inning complete game — the Red lost in extra innings.
Tomlinson allowed a solo home run to George Mason’s Kristen Dickel to erase the scoreless tie in the fourth, but the Red tied the game at one after back-to-back doubles by Tomlinson and senior shortstop Samantha Hare. A sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the eighth gave the Patriots the 2-1 win.
After totaling only five runs on Saturday, the Red outscored its opponents 21-11 on Sunday. Cornell began the day with a 11-10, extra-innings victory over Niagara. Freshman Elizabeth Dairymple got the start, going 5 2/3 innings while allowing three earned runs. She was the Red’s third starter in as many games.
“It’s not typically [a three-pitcher rotation], but this year it looks like it will be,” said head coach Dick Blood. “Typically it’s a two-pitcher rotation, but we have three solid kids this year and we’ll get them all a lot of innings. “
After leaving the game in the sixth, Dairymple left the Red with a 10-4 lead heading into the final inning. But after relieving Dairymple, Tomlinson allowed six runs in the seventh to bring the score to 10-10. Cornell couldn’t score in the bottom of the seventh to end the game in regulation, but Tomlinson held Niagara scoreless in the eighth, and a single from sophomore Ashley Garvey drove in classmate Alyson Intihar for the game winner.
“I think that was a solid performance,” Blood said. “… We’re fortunate to have won the three that we won. We won an international tiebreaker when we won 11-10 against Niagara — we could have thrown that game away. In the first game we won 4-2, and we could have thrown that game away as well. So I guess we have to be pleased.”
Cornell ended the weekend with a dominating10-1 win over the host team that had beaten them the previous day. Meunier started in the second contest against George Mason, striking out six in six innings and allowing only one run. Cornell was led offensively by senior centerfielder Jenna Campagnolo hitting cleanup. Campagnolo finished the game 2-4 with five RBI and two runs, resulting from a pair of home runs.
“The pitching we faced [Sunday] wasn’t dominating — just solid pitching,” Blood said. “We were able to get the bats going when we needed to.”
In the second game against George Mason, Cornell did not have to face the Patriot’s ace, sophomore Becky Anderson. In the first game against Cornell, Anderson pitched three shutout innings. On Sunday, Anderson threw a complete-game against Princeton in a 5-1 win.
“Well number one, we got our bats going [on Sunday] of course, but more importantly, [George Mason] threw a couple of different pitchers at us and we were able to handle them,” Blood said. “They weren’t as good as their ace, who we faced the first day. They were saving their No. 1 pitcher for the Princeton game — they faced Princeton after us and they saved their ace.”
Cornell benefited from not having to face Anderson, and instead tallied double-digit runs off of juniors Paige Krystofinski and Kelsey Mack, the Patriots team leader in ERA from last season and the team’s regular short stop, respectively.