Following a doubleheader against Syracuse (23-22-1, 7-12-1 ACC) on Wednesday, April 26 in which the Red failed to score a run, softball (14-25, 7-11 Ivy) looked to bounce back against Penn (8-37, 4-17 Ivy) on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29. When these two squads last faced off in Ithaca in 2019, the Quakers swept the Red.
For the second conference series in a row, the Red scored first. With senior infielder Maicie Levitt on first base after a hit by pitch, sophomore infielder Emma Antich crushed a two-run home run to left-center field in the bottom of the first inning.
The blast was Antich’s seventh home run on the season, which is tied for the third-most in the Ivy League. After a 1-2-3 inning spearheaded by senior pitcher Gabrielle Maday, Cornell extended its lead in the bottom of the second when senior outfielder Julie Hilcken scored on a fielder’s choice.
Penn was able to score a run as a result of a Cornell error in the top of the third, but the Red’s defense quickly recovered with two groundouts. Cornell held a 3-1 lead until the top of the sixth inning, when a two-run home run from Penn’s cleanup hitter evened the score at 3-3.
Nevertheless, the Red was able to respond in the bottom half of the inning. Freshman outfielder Sydney Stapf connected on a solo shot, and Cornell was able to hold on in the seventh to win the opening game of the series, 4-3.
For the third time in 2023, Maday dealt six or more strikeouts in a game. Maday ranks tenth in the Ivy League with 46 Ks.
After two 1-2-3 innings at the start of the second game led by senior pitcher Mia Burd, a sac fly from Stapf in the bottom of the second drove in senior catcher Celia Macari to give the Red an early lead. Later in that same inning, freshman designated hitter Lauren Holt scored on an RBI single from freshman outfielder Kate Callaway.
Burd had a dominant day in the circle for the Red, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning. After giving up a double to lead off the top of the sixth, Burd induced a pop out before recording back-to-back strikeouts to keep the Quakers off the board.
Penn was held scoreless until the seventh, when a bases-loaded walk forced in a run. With the bases still loaded, the Red’s defense stayed composed, and a foul out caught by a falling-backward Levitt secured the 4-1 victory.
Burd finished the day with a complete game, allowing two hits and one earned run while striking out seven. Her seven strikeouts are a season-high for the senior pitcher and the second most in a single game by a Cornell pitcher this year.
With a series win already secured, Cornell was keen on sweeping Penn in Niemand-Robison Field for the first time since 2009. On Saturday, the Quakers opened the scoring for the first time in the series via an RBI single in the top of the first.
The Red tied it up in the bottom of the fourth inning when Holt smashed her Ivy-League-leading eighth home run of the season. The score remained at 1-1 until the bottom of the sixth, when Levitt drove in freshman infielder Ella Harrod and Hilcken with a two-run single. Burd closed out the game with two consecutive strikeouts, and the Red completed the sweep with a 3-1 win.
Although Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Columbia have all clinched berths for the 2023 Ivy League Tournament, Cornell can jump to fifth place in the conference with a sweep of Dartmouth this weekend. The first two games against the Big Green are on Saturday, May 6 at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and the third game will begin on Sunday, May 7 at 12:30 p.m. All games will be hosted at Niemand-Robison Field and will be available on ESPN+.