April 4, 2011

Inclement Weather Forces Softball Doubleheader to I.C. Field

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Cornell faced Ivy foes Yale and Brown in two doubleheaders, dropping only 1 of the 4 weekend games.Cornell’s softball team began its second campaign as defending Ivy League Championship this past weekend — hosting the Yale Bulldogs (7-13-0, 1-3-0 Ivy League) and the Brown Bears (7-10-1, 2-2-0) in two doubleheaders. Led by its pitching and defense, the Red (14-12-1, 3-1-0) swept the Bulldogs, 3-0 and 10-2, before splitting the series with Brown, winning the first game, 2-1, and losing the second game, 3-9.

Despite being scheduled to play on Friday and Saturday, inclement weather pushed the games back to Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s matchup against Yale even had to be moved to Ithaca College’s home field, Kostrinsky Field.

“The spring season is full of unpredictability and many times the schedule gets changed from Friday to Saturday, sometimes to another week … so we’re used to that,” said head coach Dick Blood.

The Red was once again led by senior pitcher and tri-captain Elizabeth Dalrymple. In the first game against Yale, she threw a complete game shutout — surrendering just four hits and no walks, while striking out 11 batters. In the next game, she showed her versatility as she was called out of the bullpen to pitch the last inning of the game. She proved to be a force to be reckoned with — retiring all three batters she faced. Dalrymple pitched another spectacular game against Brown, as she allowed just one run on three hits — pitching her 12th complete game of the season.

“She’s been very, very steady for us the last two seasons,” Blood said. “She’s a real force on the mound.”

Cornell’s offense sputtered a little bit this weekend — apart from their 10-run outburst in their second game versus Yale — they did not score more than three runs in a game. Blood noted some inexperience at the plate, but believes the team will improve as the season progresses.

“As we [advance] more and more into the season, hopefully we’ll get more and more comfortable at the plate,” he said.

The first game against Yale was a pitcher’s dual between Yale’s Chelsey Dunham and Dalrymple. Cornell could only muster three hits off of Dunham, while Dalrymple allowed just four hits herself. Junior infielder Morgan Cawley put the Red onto the board in the second with a two-out triple, before scoring on a wild pitch later in the game. Dalrymple did the rest of the work — not allowing a single Bulldog to cross the plate.

In the second game, the Red showed some discipline at the plate, as the team drew six walks — contributing to the Red’s ten runs, six of which came in the first two innings of the game. The early support was all senior pitcher and tri-captain Ali Tomlinson needed, as she only allowed two runs in 4.1 innings of work.

Against Brown, the Red had seven hits the first game and eight in the next, but managed to score only five combined runs.

“A weekend ago we seemed to have hit in the clutch a little better than we did this past weekend,” Blood said, hinting that some untimely hitting was to blame. “Fortunately, we had really solid pitching … which kept us in the [first] game [against Brown] because we didn’t come through with a lot of clutch hits.”

Junior infielder Erin Keene and freshman infielder Lauren Bucolo knocked in the Red’s only two runs the first game, but they were enough as Dalrymple held the Bears to just one run.

In the second game, the Bears jumped out to a large lead, scoring four in the first frame — led by Kate Strobel’s three-run home run. Behind sophomore infielder Erin Belles’ homer and freshman infielder Jenny Edwards’ RBI-triple, the Red cut the lead to 4-3 at the end of the third inning; however, the Bears struck back, knocking in one run in the fourth and two in the fifth to rebuild the lead back to 7-3. Cornell had a chance to close the gap in the sixth, when they had the bases loaded with just one out, but the Red stranded all three runners.

After going errorless in the first three games, the Cornell defense took a surprising step back in the last game, as they committed four errors — resulting in three runs. The four errors were a season-high record for the team. Blood felt that the defense was in part to blame for the loss, but is encouraged nonetheless by the team’s progress.

“We let ourselves down a little bit in game four this past weekend by dropping the ball and mishandling several chances,” he said. “[However], I think we’re showing signs of improvement on defense and that’s important.”

Original Author: Albert Liao