April 16, 2008

Upstate Rivals Face Off in Midweek Game

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The softball team will have to wait until this weekend for a chance to move into first place in the Ivy League, but it will have a chance to play non-conference rival Syracuse today. Only in its ninth year, the Orange softball program will welcome the Red to Syracuse Softball Stadium in a battle for upstate color-tone supremacy.
While Cornell (29-7, 11-1 Ivy) currently ranks second in its division, Syracuse (14-23, 5-7) is sitting in the middle of the pack in the Big East. In out-of-conference play however, the Orange has won nine of its last 12 contests. This will be only the 14th meeting between the two schools, with Syracuse leading the series 8-6, including winning five of the last six.
“Syracuse is a very good team,” March said. “It’s a good opportunity to face a strong opponent, and after last weekend’s wins over Penn, we want two more wins to use as a springboard into this weekend.”
Last year, Cornell squared off against Syracuse early in the year at the Stetson Invitational, and the Red ended its opponent’s five-game winning streak in the series with a 5-3 win.
Senior Jenn Meunier pitched a complete game for the win, giving up no earned runs. Sophomore Elise Menaker — who leads the Ivy League with 33 RBIs this season and is second in the league with 10 homers — brought in a game-high two RBIs against Syracuse last season.[img_assist|nid=29900|title=Step and throw|desc=Senior shortstop Samantha Hare (2) will take on Syracuse today.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
This year, Syracuse will be led by junior shortstop Jamie Kelling and her classmate behind the plate, Amy Kelley. Sophomore Ev Anderson and freshman Rachel Helman, along with Kelling and Kelley, have batted over .400 over the team’s last 12 non-conference games.
Over the same span, senior utility player/pitcher Chanel Roehner has led the team with 12 runs, while holding opponents to only 1.87 earned runs per seven innings to go 3-0. Sophomore pitcher Brittany Gardner has led the team with a 6-1 record and 1.13 ERA.
In last year’s contest, the Red faced both Gardner and Roehner, the likely starters for today’s doubleheader. Gardner lasted only one and a third and gave up three runs before being relieved by Roehner. Roehner pitched the final four and two-thirds innings, giving up another two runs.
Cornell will counter with a strong group of sophomores who helped give Cornell its first win over Syracuse in six tries last year as rookies. They include Ashley Garvey, who leads the Ivy League in hitting with a .413 average, followed closely by the league’s fourth and fifth ranked hitters, Elise Menaker (.378) and Alyson Intihar (.375). Between Menaker and Intihar, one holds the lead for hits, runs, RBIs, doubles, triples, and total bases.
Not to be outdone by a league leading offense — first in runs scored — Cornell’s pitching staff currently has an Ivy-best 2.01 ERA, largely thanks to Meunier. At 16-1, Meunier leads the league in wins, and is second in the conferense with a 1.30 ERA.
“Obviously every game is important, and we want to win every game,” said sophomore Devon March. “The midweek games are good to grab momentum heading into the weekend Ivy League games.”