April 28, 2012
Dragons wrap up top spot
NEW PALTZ — For the sixth consecutive spring, the SUNY Cortland softball squad has captured a regular season conference title.
The Red Dragons secured their first place finish in the SUNY Athletic Conference with a doubleheader sweep of host New Paltz on Friday. A grand slam home run by Abby Martin was the featured attraction in a 14-2 opening game win over five innings before Cortland took the second game at Mary Gray Deane Field by a 13-5 margin in six innings.
Both games were halted by the eight-run rule as Cortland collected 31 hits on the day.
Now Cortland — 15-1 in conference play, 32-6 overall and ranked 11th nationally in Division III —will play host to the SUNYAC Championships being held May 3-6 at Dragon Field.
Coach Julie Lenhart’s squads have won outright SUNYAC regular-season crowns in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and shared the league title in 2008. The Red Dragons will strive for their third consecutive SUNYAC tournament title and an NCAA automatic bid hosting the six-team, double-elimination conference playoffs.
Cortland 14, New Paltz 2, 5 innings: Cortland scored eight runs in the top of the third to turn a tight 3-2 contest into an 11-2 lead. Martin’s grand slam to capped that inning and finished 3-for-3 day for the senior from Oswego, who also doubled while driving in five runs and scoring three times.
Seniors Lorraine Stoddard and Jessica Harman were each 3-for-4, driving in a run and scoring twice. Sophomore Meaghan Kohler was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, while junior Lucia Meola drove in two runs and scored twice.
Senior Morgan Kuhn earned the win after entering the game in relief in the second inning. She allowed only two hits and no walks and struck out five in 3-1/3 scoreless innings and is now 8-0 on the season.
Melissa Liotta finished 2-for-3 with a double for New Paltz.
Cortland 13, New Paltz 5, 6 innings: After finishing with 14 hits in the opener, Cortland pounded out 17 hits and scored in every inning. Six Red Dragons recorded multiple hits, led by Meola’s 4-for-5 effort with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored.
Kohler was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and junior Cassie Kardias finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored. Junior Nicole Gallo went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI, Harman was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Martin finished 2-for-5. In addition, freshman catcher Devynn Wilder drove in two runs.
Martin pitched the first three innings and allowed four runs, one earned. She gave up two hits and three walks and struck out four. She did not pitch long enough to qualify for the win. Senior Lyndsay Rowell earned the victory after giving up one run over the next two innings and Kuhn struck out two in the sixth.
Shayna Burgess and Meg Brewer each drove in two runs for the host Hawks, who are now 5-11 in the conference and 13-25 overall.
Cortland is in Oneonta today for a noontime doubleheader to complete the regular season.
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