After dropping its last Ivy series to Columbia, the Red entered this weekend looking to end its better than expected season on a brighter note.
Powered by clutch offense and lights out pitching, Cornell (15-25, 10-11 Ivy) managed to do exactly that, beating out Princeton (10-29, 8-3) in two of three games on the Tigers’ home turf.
“Princeton has been a longtime rival,” said senior catcher Tori Togashi. “The series win was important to us.”
Cornell came back from a three run deficit to win the first game 7-6, but Princeton recovered to claim the second game of the day 2-5. The series winner came down to the third and final matchup on Sunday — a game defined more by deft pitching than hard-swinging bats.
Senior Megan Murray led off the first inning with a double. Sophomore Erin Rockstroh then smacked a ground ball to advance Murray to third, while Togashi hit a sac-fly to drive her home for the Red’s lone run.
“Scoring a run in the first inning definitely sets the tone for the remainder of the game,” Murray said. “It takes a little bit of pressure off of our pitchers, allowing them to throw with a little bit of run support.”
“It felt amazing to get the RBI,” Togashi added. “And [Murray] scoring from third base was a special moment as well.”
Sophomore Katie Lew pitched both of the Red’s winning games against the Tigers. In the third game, she allowed only six hits and no walks, tossing a 65-pitch complete game shutout as the Red went on to eke out a 1-0 win.
“[Lew] was masterful,” said head coach Julie Farlow ’97. “She let our defense make plays and they responded.”
The series marked the end of the Cornell’s campaign, which saw the Red close with an overall record of 15-25 and a conference record of 10-11. Ending the season fifth in the Ivy League, the team improved significantly on last year’s eighth-place conference finish.
“It was a solid improvement from last year,” Farlow said. “And a great springboard for next year.”
Pre-season polls projected Cornell to once again finish last in the league while Princeton was chosen to finish first — a judgement that gave the Red’s series win a particularly satisfying poignance.
“If we dropped the game, we would have tied for 5th with Princeton,” Murray said. “We wanted to finish on a strong note, especially for us seniors leaving the program.”