April 14, 2008

Softball Sweeps Again, Still Game Out of First

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The softball team (29-7, 11-1 Ivy) has been rather busy lately. Yesterday, the team completed its 12th game in a span of just nine days. The Red has been able to maintain its momentum through the relentless schedule, however, as the team completed the 12-game stretch undefeated. This past weekend, Cornell swept a four-game series against the hosting Penn Quakers.
The team’s current win streak is its longest since it won 18 in a row en route to the 2004 NCAA playoffs.
“It’s been very exciting so far,” said freshman pitcher Ali Tomlinson of the streak. “[We’ve had] good team wins. It’s a lot of fun.”[img_assist|nid=29827|title=Ground balls and line drives|desc=Senior co-captain Samantha Hare hit two home runs in the Red’s doubleheader sweep of Penn yesterday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Cornell set the tone for the weekend early in its first game against the Quakers. The Red offense scored two runs in the first and three runs in the second to jump out to a 5-0 lead over Penn. After allowing two runs in the bottom of the third, the Red responded with six scores of its own to take a decisive 11-2 lead. Senior pitcher Jenn Meunier shut down Penn in the fourth and fifth innings, resulting in a five inning mercy rule victory.
Seniors Samantha Hare and Jenna Campagnolo and sophomore Alyson Intihar each had huge days on offense. Hare contributed three hits, three runs and three RBI. Intihar, batting behind Hare, had three hits, two runs and two RBI. Campagnolo had two hits, one run and three RBI out of the five spot.
In the second half of Saturday’s doubleheader, Tomlinson was dominant on the mound. The freshman pitched a complete game shutout and struck out eight in her seven innings of work.
The Red offense was not as explosive as it usually is, but the team was opportunistic and showed off its “small ball” ability in scoring five runs. Cornell scored three runs without an RBI hit as the team reached home via a Penn error, a double steal with runners on the corners, and a sacrifice fly.
For the fifth time during its win streak, the Red pulled out a victory in extra innings. In its first game against Penn yesterday, the teams were knotted at one run apiece after seven innings. Meunier, the team’s ace was on the hill and dominated once again. She pitched all eight innings and allowed only one run. The Red’s only run in regulation came on a solo home run from Hare.
The senior left fielder struck again in the eighth inning. Hare broke the 1-1 tie with a two-out, two-run bomb to left field. With Meunier in control, the 3-1 score held up as the Red extended its win streak. Meunier is now 16-1 with an ERA of 1.36.
Cornell struck early in its final game of the weekend. The Red batted around in the top of the first inning and the scoring only stopped when Tomlinson, batting ninth despite pitching, was thrown out trying to reach second on a hit to right field. The Red scored six runs in the inning.
Penn was not ready to concede a sweep and fought back over the next few innings. The Quakers had a big third inning and chipped away at the Red’s lead. Penn cut the lead from 7-1 to 7-4, chasing Tomlinson from the mound in favor of fellow rookie Elizabeth Dalrymple. The change appeared to backfire when Dalrymple allowed singles to the first two batters she faced. With only one out in the bottom of the third inning, the score was 7-5 and the tying run was on base.
However, Dalrymple induced consecutive pop-ups to get out of the inning. She only allowed one more hit the rest of the game and earned the victory, as Cornell prevailed 8-5.
Sophomore Elise Menaker was 3-for-3 with a walk, while classmate Ashley Garvey had two hits and three RBI to lead the way for the Red.
Despite an 11-1 record in conference play, Cornell has been unable to catch Princeton (15-19, 12-0), which swept Columbia over the weekend. While members of the Red claim they are not discouraged, they certainly have their sights set on a four-game series with Princeton beginning the April 26.
“I wouldn’t call it frustrating,” Tomlinson said. “I would say it’s a little bit of motivation. We are gonna play hard every game and we know that [Princeton] will also. We’re looking forward to the last weekend when we play Princeton.”