April 1, 2012

SOFTBALL | C.U. Sweeps Dartmouth Set, But Splits Two With Harvard

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With some offensive explosions over this past weekend, the Cornell softball team (12-11, 3-1 Ivy League) won three out of four games, completing a sweep of rival Dartmouth (7-12, 0-4). The Red also split against defending Ivy League champion Harvard (15-8, 3-1), after losing the first game in eight innings.

Cornell hit six home runs against Dartmouth in its two victories, 4-2 and 10-8. Sophomore Lauren Bucolo belted three home runs during the sweep and drove in four. In the early game, sophomore Jenny Edwards nailed a three-run homer to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning. Senior Jenna Stoller (1-6) picked up her first win of the season in the early game, allowing only four hits and striking out six.

Against the Crimson, the Red had the lead going into the final inning, as freshman Linda Laeufer hit a two-run homerun off Harvard’s Ivy League Pitcher of the Year Rachel Brown (8-4) in the sixth. However, the Red blew the lead in the seventh and gave up four runs in the extra frame to lose, 6-2. In the nightcap, senior captain Erin Keene came up clutch with a two-run home run off Brown in the sixth inning, to give the Red a lead in the inning, to give the Red a lead in the back-and-forth affair. Senior pitcher Lauren Marx (5-1) closed out the seventh and grabbed the win in the 10-8 victory.

“This weekend was huge for us,” Keene said. “Obviously, now that we’ve entered Ivy play every game is huge, but opening with the defending champs was a great challenge for this year’s squad and I definitely think we rose to the occasion.”

Keene also highlighted the great job that the offense did and how it was key in going three-for-four over the weekend.

“Saturday was fun for everyone,” Keene said. “Our offense really came to life and it was great to see that behind a pitching staff that’s been doing a phenomenal job all spring.”

Going into the weekend, head coach Dick Blood and senior captain Katie Watts expressed concerns about the Red’s defense and emphasized that the team had to focus on playing error-less softball in order to be competitive.

Proving the skepticism wrong, the Red won the defensive battle against Harvard, committing no errors in the doubleheader against the Crimson. However, against the Green, Cornell committed four errors in two games leading to five unearned runs.

Stoller and sophomore Alyson Onyon (5-2) were the two starting pitchers for the four games and Marx pitched relief for three, earning a win against Harvard and a save in the nightcap against Dartmouth. In 12 innings, Oynon struck out 11 batters while Stoller fanned 12 in 14.1 innings. Marx only had to cover 2.2 innings of relief over the four games, as the rest were finished by the two starters.

Looking ahead, the Red has a doubleheader against Albany (18-7) at Neimand-Robison field on Tuesday. The Great Danes come into Tuesday’s action on a five-game winning streak. Albany has been victorious in eight of the last nine games.

“They are a solid team,” Keene said. “It will be a great tune up for the weekend.”

Next weekend, the Red hits the road on Friday and Saturday to play Ivy League opponents, Brown (3-13, 0-2) and Yale (7-15, 1-3).

“There’s always more work to be done,” Keene said about the team’s performance. “But, we’ve put ourselves in a good position going into next weekend.”

Original Author: Scott Eckl