March 26, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - There is not a more difficult way to begin Ivy League softball play than with a trip to Princeton and Cornell. The two teams have combined to go 121-43 (.738) in league games in the last five years. That is the daunting task facing Yale this weekend. The Bulldogs travel to defending champion Princeton on Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 12:30 p.m. ( Live Stats) and then play a pair at Cornell on Sunday starting at noon ( Live Stats).
Fortunately, Yale will bring some positive momentum on the trip. The Bulldogs (9-11) swept a doubleheader from Army on Wednesday, scoring 15 runs and banging out 24 hits in the two games. Yale also has been getting some excellent pitching recently. In their last six games, the Bulldogs have allowed only eight earned runs (1.40 ERA).
Yale's pitching and hitting will need to be in top form this weekend. Princeton leads the league in batting (.291), while Cornell is first in pitching (1.49 ERA) and second in hitting (.279).
The Tigers (5-9) are playing their first home games in Class of 1985 Field on Saturday against the Bulldogs. Princeton went on its annual spring trip to California last week and went 2-6. One of the games was a 1-0 loss to fourth-ranked Stanford. The only run of the game came on a home run, the only time a Cardinal batter got past second base. The Tigers have four players batting .300 or better - Kathryn Welch (.423), Kelsey VandeBergh (.419) and Nicole Ontiveros (.393).
Cornell (19-5) players garnered two of the three weekly Ivy awards this week. Elise Menaker, who batted .436, was named the Player of the Week, while Elizabeth Dalrymple, who went 4-0, earned Pitcher of the Week honors. The Big Red's top two pitchers - Lauren Marx (0.63) and Dalrymple (0.96) - both have earned run averages under 1.00. Menaker leads the team with a .378 batting average.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity