In Cornell’s first few matches back at home in three years, softball battled through its first Ivy League series. Facing Columbia (6-15, 4-2 Ivy) in three home games, the Red (4-11, 1-2 Ivy) ended its weekend with a 2-1 record, managing to defeat the Lions in only one match on Friday, 5-4.
“That’s been a big overarching theme of the season: having the fight and the drive to stay in games,” said senior right-fielder Hanna Crist. “And that’s what we did in our second game of the series to pull out a win.”
Cornell’s win could be partially attributed to the pitching on both teams. In the first match of the weekend, Columbia clocked eight runs from two singles and two homers. Eight Lions ran the bases before sophomore pitcher Mia Burd stepped up to the mound. Although she couldn’t save the game, Burd ended the Lions’ streak for the rest of the day. Columbia ended up winning, 0-11 in five innings.
“One pitch can change the whole flow of the game,” Burd said. “After giving up runs like that as a team, we really had to focus and reevaluate what we were doing.”
Just as the Red prepared to cut off the Lions’ momentum, Cornell was looking to build some of its own energy from the batters.
“After the first game, Coach told us to wipe the slate clean and come back playing harder than we did in the first game,” Crist said. “Just because it didn’t go our way in the first game, it didn’t mean that the second game had to go that way too.”
The players had a 40-minute respite before the second match on Friday. Burd pitched for the entire seven innings, and with the help of the other fielders, kept most of the Lions away from home plate.
“After giving up a grand slam in the second inning, it was good for me to buckle down and retaliate and not give up any more runs in that second game,” Burd said.
The batters were equally successful. The Red entered the bottom of the second down, 0-4, but two walks put Zorrilla and Macari at first and second, ready to run. A home run from Crist batted in three points, the first Cornell runs of the day.
“It’s super exciting to be able to give your coach a high five as you round third and to touch the plate and be met with your teammates, to know that it’s time to keep the momentum going,” Crist said. “Of course, I love going around the bases, being at [Niemand-Robinson], it’s always super fun. I don’t think there’s much of a better feeling than that.”
The Red capitalized off additional walks in the sixth and seventh innings as well, holding the Lions to a tight score for the entire match. A run from Hilcken and a walk-off run from Rooney secured the Red victory, 5-4.
“It was promising to show on Friday after an 11-run deficit that we could come back and retaliate and respond with a win, especially a walk-off win,” Burd said.
Unfortunately, the Red’s Saturday lineup couldn’t find home base nearly as easily. Nine players were left on base with only one run. Columbia, on the other hand, scored nine runs from 11 hits, securing a second high-scoring win, 1-9.
“As a team we’re turning some corners, and now we’re really getting into the meat of the season now that midweek games are here,” Crist said. “I’m looking forward to finding some good momentum and moving forward with that throughout the rest of the games.”
Binghamton University will host Cornell in a double-header on Wednesday followed by Ivy League matches against University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia over the weekend.