A month before its first game in Ithaca, Cornell softball got an early taste of warm weather last weekend, when it traveled to Madeira Beach, Florida to play five contests in three days for The Spring Games.
While Cornell earned a victory in its season opener, it dropped three of its next four tilts in a mixed tournament that included the Red being blanked in a perfect game.
In the series’ first game, the Red (2-3) stormed out of the gate, homering three times en route to a 12-5 win over Albany (3-2) in its lone game on Friday.
Senior infielder Bridgette Rooney opened her final campaign on East Hill with a bang, going 5-for-5 with a home run. After finishing the weekend 10-for-15 with seven runs and three RBIs, Rooney earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors.
“The mindset I took this weekend was to go see as many pitches as I can and to play loose,” Rooney said. “I think that mentality and trying to have as much fun as I could in the box helped me.”
Freshman infielder Maicie Levitt also added to the Red’s offensive show of force, going deep in her first collegiate at-bat.
“It felt great because I’ve dreamed of doing that since I was little,” Levitt said. “I remember smiling the whole time, and going into that at-bat, I just wanted to have fun.”
Following its strong performance on Friday, Cornell returned to the diamond for a Saturday doubleheader against Georgetown (3-12) and Merrimack (0-6).
The Red dropped the day’s first game to Georgetown, 3-2, as a seventh-inning rally fell short.
Sophomore outfielder Hanna Crist woke the offense up with her second home run of the weekend, a two-run shot with one out in the seventh. While the Red managed to load the bases, sophomore infielder Allison Kerce ended the potential comeback with a flyout to left field.
Despite falling just short of a win, the Red carried the momentum from its strong finish against Georgetown into the afternoon game, when it notched a 10-6 victory over Merrimack.
Sophomore infielder Emily McKinney led the way offensively, going 3-for-3 with four RBIs and a three-run homer.
In the circle, freshman pitcher Mia Burd picked up her second win of the weekend after she cruised through five innings, but ran into trouble when she was pulled after giving up six runs — four of which were unearned — in the sixth.
“[Burd] turns it on when she gets on the mound,” Rooney said. “To see that with someone young on the team who’s not afraid to take on that challenge is really exciting … She’s got good stuff coming.”
Despite its initial success, the Red dropped both ends of its doubleheader on Sunday. In the first game, Cornell lost, 5-3, to Manhattan (3-3) after stringing together a late rally to tie the game in the top of the seventh. Yet snapping hopes for a come-from-behind win, the Red allowed a walk-off home run in the bottom half of the frame, ceding the game.
Heading into the final tilt of the weekend, the Red squared off against Stony Brook (5-0) for a chance to leave Florida with a winning record. But Stony Brook’s Dawn Bodrug had other ideas, as she tossed a perfect game, striking out 15 Cornell batters.
The 7-0 loss to Stony Brook wrapped up a 2-3 weekend for Cornell. The Red returns to action on Mar. 6, when it heads to Fairfax, Va. to compete in the George Mason Invitational.