For the second consecutive year, softball (6-7, 0-0 Ivy) was invited to participate in the Penn State Invitational from Thursday, March 16 to Saturday, March 18.
On the first day of the competition, Cornell was cornered into a three-run deficit after the first four innings of the game against the Nittany Lions (18-4, 0-0 Big Ten). The tide turned when freshman infielder/outfielder Sydney Stapf hit a triple to right field at the top of the fifth inning — which drove in sophomore infielder Emma Antich, senior infielder Maicie Levitt and junior outfielder Marisa Zorrilla, evening the score at 3-3.
Levitt’s awareness proved to be vital later in the game, as a wild pitch in the top of the sixth enabled her to score her second run of the day. The bottom of the seventh inning saw a composed Cornell hold Penn State scoreless despite a bases-loaded opportunity.
This 4-3 win marked not only the fourth time this season that the Red mounted a successful comeback, but also the second time this season that the team won a game in which it had trailed by at least three runs. This result was also Cornell’s first win against a Power Five program since the 8-6 victory against Boston College on March 17, 2013.
The following day, the Red took on the University of Maryland Baltimore County (8-7, 0-0 AEC). The Retrievers was intent on avenging its loss to Cornell on March 11, during the Retriever Classic.
However, the Red spoiled this plan very quickly when Stapf launched a two-run home run over the left-center fence in the top of the first inning, scoring freshman outfielder Kate Callaway. Two batters later, senior infielder/outfielder Julie Hilcken hit a four-bagger to left center field that drove in senior catcher Celia Macari.
The top of the third saw a Macari RBI single that sent Stapf home for the second time in the game. Later in the inning, Levitt’s double to left center drove in both Hilcken and Macari.
A single from Hilcken in the subsequent inning was enough for Antich to score, which extended the Red’s lead to 8-1. With the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, Levitt hit a single that drove in Hilcken and Stapf, who each scored three runs to finish the game.
Cornell’s emphatic 10-2 victory over the Retrievers was just the third time since 2019 that the Red has won a contest by eight or more runs.
On Saturday, the Red faced Canisius (10-8, 0-0 MAAC) with hopes of being above .500 before the start of its Ivy League portion of the season. The game was a low-scoring affair, with the difference coming on a two-run homer from the Golden Griffins in the bottom of the second.
The Red was unable to generate any offense, and was shutout, 2-0. This result in favor of the Golden Griffins was the only loss at the invitational for Cornell and the second time this season that the Red was shutout. In defeating Cornell, Canisius also became the first softball team in the MAAC to accumulate 1,000 wins.
The Red will open Ivy League play on the road against Harvard (10-7-1, 3-0 Ivy). The Crimson is returning from a three-game series sweep in Philadelphia against Penn. The two squads will face off in a double-header on Saturday, March 25 and a third game on Sunday, March 26. Both days kick off at 12:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN+.
Sean Cabrera is a Sun Contributing Writer. He can be reached at [email protected]