Today, the Cornell softball team will travel across town to take on its local rival, Ithaca College, in a doubleheader. Though the games’ results will ultimately carry no significance in the Ivy League standings, the Red could certainly use a winning drive going into its weekend games against Princeton. With a winning weekend, Cornell will be able to sweep the Ivy League South Division, and will possibly have home field advantage for the Ivy playoffs.
“Winning the midweek games is always important for momentum in the Ivy League games,” said senior first baseman Ashley Garvey. “Hopefully we can get some good wins in the Ithaca games and that will help us go into the weekend strong.”
However, Ithaca will by no means be an easy team to take down. The Bombers (22-10, 11-1 Empire) have had a spectacular season and, with 10 commanding wins out of the last 12 contests, they are entering this game with significant momentum. Cornell (26-11, 12-2 Ivy), though, has an equally impressive season record thus far and has proven itself to be an exceptional team on the road –– it has lost only once in all of its Ivy League away games.
The Bombers, however, will definitely be up to the challenge that the Red presents, given that their roster is full of talented players on both offense and defense. Junior catcher Kerry Barger leads the team with her .383 batting average, eight doubles, and 17 RBI this season. Close behind Barger are juniors Katie Dolan and Brittany Lillie, whose batting averages are .369 and .359, respectively.
From the mound, Ithaca has a dominant presence, thanks mainly to the combined presence of senior Alyssa Brook and junior Allison Greaney with respective ERA’s of 0.91 and 1.69. All in all, the Ithaca pitching staff has kept its opponents to a minimal batting average of .175, a number that will be tough to surmount.
Despite Ithaca’s ownership of a talented pitching contingent, it must be known that the Red has no shortage of talented hitters. Currently, senior shortstop Alyson Intihar is hitting .396, followed by senior third baseman Elise Menaker (.365) and freshman catcher Kristen Towne (.355).
As for pitching, Cornell has one of the finest pitching staffs in the Ivy League. Junior Elizabeth Dalrymple currently holds a record of 15-3, with an ERA of 2.01. Supporting Dalrymple are junior Ali Tomlinson and sophomore Lauren Marx, with ERA’s of 3.90 and 4.57, respectively.
“Our pitching is really outstanding this year,” Garvey said. “And we’ve really been hitting the ball and scoring a lot of runs … our pitching and our timely hitting, those are our main strengths right now.”
Although the games against the Bombers may prove to be quite challenging, the Cornell players are still looking forward to the matchup.
“It’s always fun to play them –– they’re our cross-town rivals, and they’re a really good team,” Garvey said. “But we never take any team lightly, them included.”
Indeed, the Ithaca team should not be taken lightly. However, if the Red can manage to pull off some successful games today, first at 3:30 p.m. and then 5:30 p.m., it just may put the team in the perfect mindset for this weekend’s important games.