Playing a home-away series against Princeton, the Red took three out of four and clinched home-field advantage for the three-game Ivy League Championship series. The Red (33-12) will play Harvard, the Ivy League North Division champs, who also finished with an Ivy League Record of 17-3. Each of the Red’s three wins proved crucial, because Harvard had won all four of its games this weekend against Dartmouth. Though Harvard and Cornell have split the two games they played this season, Cornell won the tiebreaker for home-field advantage thanks to its better record against the Ivy League’s next best team –– Penn.
This weekend’s games were exciting, as Cornell needed to come from behind in all three of its victories.
“Playing in good, close games of this caliber is very important,” said head coach Dick Blood. “These tight contests should prepare us for the championship and get us ready for the higher quality of pitching that we’ll face there.”
After falling into a hole, 1-0, in the first inning of the first game, junior pitcher Elizabeth Dalrymple buckled down for the remaining six innings, giving up only two more hits, two more walk and no more runs. She finished with nine strikeouts, five of which accounted for the team’s first six outs.
The Cornell bats came alive in the third and fourth innings, in which the Red scored three and four runs, respectively. The Red finished with eight runs off of 13 hits. Senior Ashley Garvey finished a perfect four for fours, and picked up a run and an RBI. Senior Vanessa Leonhard too contributed, picking up three RBI’s of her own.
Cornell fell into some trouble early in the second game as well, with junior Ali Tomlinson surrendering four runs in the first inning. The Red, a resilient bunch, responded with seven runs over the next four innings, while keeping Princeton scoreless the rest of the way. Sophomore Lauren Marx was outstanding in her relief effort, giving up only two hits in a scoreless four innings.
Sophomore Shannon Crane led the offensive attack with three RBI’s off of three hits. Leonhard contributed an RBI and a run. Princeton senior Kelsey Quist had a solid performance as well picking up three RBI’s.
On Sunday, the Red had its streak of eight wins snapped as it fell, 4-2, to the Tigers.
Senior Jamie Lettire kept the Red bats at bay, giving up a mere two runs in seven innings.
“Jamie is a strong kid with a lot of good stuff,” said Blood. “They’ve got a really tough lineup as well.”
Cornell was victimized by an uncharacteristic bout of errors. Dalrymple committed a pair, while sophomore Erin Keene picked up one. Only one of Princeton’s runs was an earned run.
“We didn’t defend well against the short game,” postulated Blood. “They kept putting runners on base and our defense couldn’t prevent them from advancing the runners.”
In what Blood labeled a “thrilling” game, Cornell rallied from behind in the second game on Sunday, scoring two runs in the sixth, to pick up the 7-6 win.
In a rollercoaster game that featured four lead changes, the Red ultimately prevailed thanks to an RBI groundout by Elise Menaker’s third RBI of the game in the sixth.
“In the first game, Lettire kept jamming us up and inside with her screwball,” commented Blood. “We were more patient at the plate in the second game.”
Dalrymple picked up her first save of the season, pitching two scoreless innings to shut the door on Princeton.
Cornell will head to Binghamton Tuesday, where it will face the Bearcats (24-17). Binghamton has a powerful hitter in Deannie Plemmon, who posts a .373 batting average to go along with 14 homers and 43 RBI’s. The dynamic duo of Kristen Emerling and Rhoda Marsteller helm the mound, as the two have a 1.67 and 2.98 ERA respectively.
Still, with his sights on the playoffs, Blood said that he intends to rest his starters for a good portion of the games. “The people who haven’t played a whole lot this season will get a chance to prove themselves. When one player sits, it gives others the opportunity to try and fill their shoes.”
Original Author: Jonathan Shtaynberger