March 25, 2009


Red Dragons keep rolling along

SUNY Cortland stretched its unbeaten softball ways to 15 consecutive games on Wednesday afternoon.
That the Red Dragons continued rolling along at the expense of rival Ithaca College was an added bonus, as Cortland survived 2-0 and 3-2 close calls on their Dragon Field home diamond to keep their winning streak going.
Junior Katie Finch pitched a four-hit shutout in the opening victory for this Red Dragon team ranked ninth nationally in the most recent Division III national poll. Junior Emily Ringen and freshman Jessica Harman then singled home runs in the bottom of the sixth as Cortland rallied to capture the nightcap over the 23rd ranked Bombers.
While improving to 15-1 on the season, the Red Dragons unbeaten since a season-opening loss to Emory College earlier this month in Florida, Cortland benefited from another break before the first pitch was thrown. The doubleheader was originally scheduled for Ithaca, only to be moved to Cortland on game day due to field conditions.
With the two losses, Ithaca is now 9-7.
Cortland 2, Ithaca 0: Finch struck out five, did not walk a batter and scattered four hits while improving to 9-0 on the season.
This was a classic pitching duel, as Ithaca’s Alyssa Brook was just as stingy. Cortland made the most of three hits, Brook striking out eight and walking three over her six innings. Just one of the two runs she yielded was earned.
Brook held Cortland hitless for the first five innings, though the Red Dragons were able to push across a run in the bottom of the first inning. Cortland sophomore Donnalyn Cross reached second on a throwing error by the shortstop, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.
Cross also broke up Brook’s no-hit bid with a leadoff double in the sixth and eventually scored on a Sammi Dieffenbach single.
Ithaca stranded a runner on third base with one out in the second. In the fourth, Annmarie Forenza hit a leadoff double for the first hit off Finch and went to third on a one-out groundout but was stranded there.
Cortland 3, Ithaca 2: Cortland took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning after Ithaca starter Brittany Lillie retired the first nine batters she faced. Cross tripled off the fence in right center to lead off the fourth and scored on a single through the left side by senior Crystal Carlson.
Freshman hurler Lyndsay Rowell started for Cortland and did not allow any runs over the first five innings. Ithaca had six hits during that stretch, but stranded eight runners.
In the sixth, however, Rowell gave up a one-out double to Lillie and was replaced by junior Maria Carucci. Junior Danielle Fazzolare then hit a two-run homer to left to give the Bombers a 2-1 lead.
Brook returned to the mound for Ithaca to pitch the sixth and retired the first batter before giving up a single to Carlson. After a wild pitch, Ringen singled through the right side to score Carlson with the tying run. Dieffenbach was intentionally walked and Jackie Begnoche singled to load the bases. Harman then singled to left center to drive in the go-ahead run.
Finch entered the game in the top of the seventh and retired three batters, two by strikeout, to earn her second save of the season. Carucci earned a win in her first decision this spring.
Carlson and Ringen each finished 2-for-3 with an RBI for Cortland, while Fazzolare went 2-for-2 for the Bombers.
Both teams made great defensive plays to keep the game tight through the first five innings.
Cross made a diving catch to her left with two outs and Ithaca runners on second and third in the third inning to preserve a 1-0 lead. Ithaca rightfielder Tricia Santelli made a nice running catch on a line drive with one out in the fourth and doubled off a runner at first base to end the inning after Cortland had scored earlier in the frame.
Cortland has a break in the schedule before getting SUNY Athletic Conference play underway this coming Tuesday, New Paltz scheduled to visit Dragon Field for a 3 p.m. twin bill.
TC3 PLAYER HONORED: Tompkins Cortland Community College’s Ashley Greenough has been named the NJCAA Region III Female Athlete of the Week.
Greenough, a freshman sport management major, enjoyed an impressive collegiate debut. Playing against scholarship schools as part of TC3’s traditional spring break trip to the Cocoa Expo in Florida, she hit .485 (16-for-33) in nine games. She led the team with eight stolen bases and nine runs scored, helping the Panthers to a fifth-place ranking in the first Region III Coaches Poll.