Entering this weekend’s series against Penn with a four game losing streak, Cornell softball eagerly awaited the chance to snap its dismal slump.
While the Red’s (12-20, 7-8 Ivy) hopes for a revival were quickly dashed as the team suffered two consecutive losses, softball managed to pull itself together for a win to close the weekend.
“It felt good going into the weekend,” said head coach Julie Farlow ’97. “We had a little losing streak against Dartmouth — you want to get back on the field and prove you’re a different team than that.”
Cornell suffered major offensive setbacks against Dartmouth, having fallen in all three games by wide margins. The first two matchups against Penn repeated that losing routine, with the Quakers taking early and decisive leads.
“I think we knew what Penn’s lineup was going to look like and what their pitching was going to look like,” Farlow said. “Unfortunately we just didn’t display that at all on Saturday. We weren’t hitting the ball, we weren’t playing good defense, so one aspect of our game couldn’t really step up and take over.”
Penn trounced the Red, 1-12, in the first game of the series. The Quakers notched a pair of six run innings in the first and third, while Cornell could only respond in the form of a lone home run from senior Rebecca Kubena. Five of the twelve runs scored were due to two costly errors.
In the second faceoff of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Quakers held the Red scoreless, 0-7. The game began with an earned run in the first and then snowballed into another four unearned runs after an error from Cornell. As the Red’s offense and defense continued to flounder, Penn racked up two more one-run innings to round out the lopsided game.
The pair of error-heavy games prompted the team and coaching staff to reevaluate its approach before heading into Sunday’s matchup.
“After Saturday’s losses, I thought things were spiraling a bit — we were really lacking confidence and we weren’t really able to rebound from that,” Farlow said. “We had a good heart-to-heart session and … got the team really focused on playing with confidence, supporting each other, and if you make a mistake, to not just hang hang your head [but] to rebound and make the next play.”
The intervention appeared to pay dividends. The first six innings saw the two teams neck and neck, trading one or two runs apiece until Cornell pulled ahead, 4-2. An explosive seventh inning — which ultimately proved decisive — saw the Red drive in four runs with support from senior Tori Togashi’s bases-clearing three-run triple and sophomore Kate Jencarelli’s RBI sacrifice fly. While the offense finally showed signs of life, sophomore pitcher Lisa Nelson dealt five strikeouts and let up only five hits on the way to her seventh win of the season.
With Sunday’s victory, the Red now has seven conference wins, besting last season’s total of six. Cornell has six more Ivy League games remaining in its schedule.
The Red stays at home for the next game against Ithaca College, on Wednesday April 25th at 12:30 p.m.