April 10, 2009

Softball to Face Penn in Crucial Division Games

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The softball team hopes to remain perfect at home when it takes on Ivy League South Division rival Penn in back-to-back doubleheaders this weekend. After inclement weather forced the postponement of the Red’s (27-7, 6-2 Ivy) twin bill against St. Bonaventure University on Wednesday, Cornell has had a weeklong respite from competition. With that in mind, the team looks to head into play against the 9-20-1 (4-4 Ivy) Quakers feeling refreshed.
Penn, on the other hand, last saw action on Wednesday afternoon, dropping both ends of a doubleheader against non-conference foe Temple; the Owls outscored the Quakers by a combined 14-3 in a one-sided slugfest. Penn’s offense was led by sophomore Alisha Prystowsky and junior Susan Miller, each of whom homered to drive in the Quaker runs.
The Red will hand the ball to sophomore Elizabeth Dalrymple in the opening game of tomorrow’s 12:30 p.m. doubleheader at Niemand-Robison Field. Dalrymple got roughed up in her last outing, surrendering seven runs (five earned) and 10 hits in 9.1 innings of work in Cornell’s 7-5 loss to Dartmouth on Sunday. Nevertheless, she continues to lead the team with 11 wins, and will be pursuing victory No. 12. It won’t come easy, however, as Game 1 is shaping up to be a classic pitchers’ duel; taking the mound for the Quakers will be sophomore ace Jessie Lupardus, who was a 20-game winner last year as a freshman. The left-hander recently took the loss in Penn’s opening game against Temple, despite only giving up one run.
“She throws an awful lot of nice-breaking stuff and a good off-speed changeup,” said head coach Dick Blood of Lupardus. “She’s very, very tough on the mound.”[img_assist|nid=36733|title=Crouching tiger, hidden dragon|desc=The Red has not seen action since Sunday, but looks to come out swinging against Ivy League South Division rival Penn. The Quakers lost both ends of a doubleheader against Temple on April 8.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Blood added that Penn is also a very solid defensive ball club.
Senior Jessy Berkey echoed this sentiment, “[Penn] is definitely a tough team with pretty solid pitching. … the mindset we need to take going into [this weekend series] is one game at a time, and as cliché as it may sound, that’s really how you have to do it, because it’s the same team you’re facing four times in a row.”
In Game 2, Ali Tomlinson will be seeking to add to her win column; the sophomore right-hander boasts a 10-4 record and an ERA of 2.15. Tomlinson is coming off a quality start against Dartmouth, in which she helped the Red salvage a split by surrendering just two runs in a complete-game effort. Slated to make the start for Penn is senior Emily Denstedt, who is 1-6 this season with a 4.54 ERA. Denstedt last pitched on March 30, taking the loss for the Quakers in their matchup against Harvard.
According to Blood, the pitchers on both sides for Sunday’s doubleheader have yet to be determined.
“I think our pitching has been really, really solid, and our bats have obviously been pretty phenomenal,” Berkey said. “If we can keep up what we’re doing, I think that we should be able to take four from Penn.”