Connor Archard | Sun File Photo

Senior Meg Parker hit a home run in the Red's 9-7 defeat against Saint Francis

March 14, 2016

Shaky Pitching, Big Innings Doom Cornell as Softball Remains Winless

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Three tough losses in two days have left the Cornell softball team still searching for its first win after another disappointing weekend against Saint Francis.

The Red Flash (12-12) took three straight from the Red (0-8, 0-0 Ivy) which is now off to its worst start in recent history.

First year head coach Julie Farlow ’97 and the rest of the team said they were not happy with the weekend’s results and know they must improve.

“We’re going to have to start making some quick adjustments and get some W’s on the board,” Farlow said.

On Saturday, Cornell lost both games of a doubleheader by the same score of 12-4, both lasting just six innings in each.

After a big first inning two-run home run by senior Meg Parker gave the Red a 2-0 lead in the first game on Saturday, Saint Francis came back with five in the bottom half of the frame to take back the lead, a phenomenon that Cornell is becoming very familiar with.

“So far this season, when we do have a lead it’s short lived,” Farlow said. “We have to do a better job of shutting down the other team when we’re ahead.”.

Cornell got a run in the third but sophomore Maddie Orcutt failed to get anything going on the mound, giving up four runs in the sixth, ending the game an inning early and falling to 0-3 individually on the season.

In game two, Saint Francis was first on the board, putting up a four spot against sophomore right-Hander Sierra Stone in the second. When Cornell came to bat in the third, the Red pieced together a nice comeback, featuring home runs by junior shortstop Olivia May, sophomore first baseman Megan Murray and sophomore designated hitter Tori Togashi to tie the game at four.

But it did not stay that way for long, as Saint Francis immediately answered and got four runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Four more in sixth once again ended the game early and allowed the Red Flash to clinch a series win.

Cornell has not pitched well thus far this season, and Farlow admitted averaging 10 runs allowed per game is not acceptable.

“We’re definitely still trying to get more composure on the mound and prevent some of those big innings … We can’t give up 10 runs a game and expect to win,” Farlow said.

In Sunday’s series finale, Cornell sent Parker to the mound hoping to avoid a sweep. Early on things were looking up. Cornell drove in four in the top half of the second behind a two-run double by senior Emily Weinberg to jump out in front. Once again, however, the Red could not hold the lead and promptly gave all four back in the bottom of the inning. Parker would give the Red its second lead of the day with a two-run home run in the fifth.

After five innings played, the women led, 7-4, but Saint Francis rallied for five in the sixth and handed Cornell its eighth straight loss to open the season.

“[Sunday’s] loss was probably the most disappointing one since we were really in the game,” Farlow said.

Although not the desired overall outcome, Weinberg did note some improvement as the weekend progressed.

“Obviously we didn’t get the results we had hoped for, but we improved a lot as the weekend progressed,” Weinberg said. “Our bats came alive, our defense became tighter, and we were able to stay in the final game.”

Weinberg said she knows the losing streak is taking its toll on the team but stressed that Cornell is determined to stay focused and improve in time for Ivy League play in early April.

“It’s been tough on our morale,” Weinberg said. “I think that our competitive drive to do better and succeed during league play is keeping us focused.”

Farlow said she is also trying to remain positive but needs certain aspects of the team’s game to improve.

“We’re hitting the ball hard, and I feel pretty happy about where that is, but our pitching definitely has to sharpen up … and our defense isn’t quite perfect yet,” Farlow said.

Cornell opens up a five game tournament in Fairfax, Virginia next weekend against none other than Saint Francis.

“It’s not panic time yet, but we have to start improving right now,” Farlow said.