April 30, 2011


Dragons rally wraps up first

PLATTSBURGH — Just when SUNY Cortland seemed on the verge of a softball split that would prevent clinching first place in the conference, the visiting Red Dragons pulled off a remarkable seventh inning surge on Friday.
Junior Abby Martin’s three-run homer capped an eight-run seventh inning as the nationally 10th-ranked Red Dragons rallied from a 6-0 deficit to stun 17th-ranked Plattsburgh 8-6 to complete a crucial SUNY Athletic Conference doubleheader sweep.
Cortland won the opening game 6-1 over second place Plattsburgh, so the two victories clinched the regular season title as the Red Dragons improved to 15-0 in conference play and 30-3 overall. It was the 10th consecutive season Coach Julie Lenhart’s squad has reached 30 wins, something the school has done a dozen times overall.
The regular season concludes today with a noon twin bill at Potsdam followed by a trip to Oswego to meet Brockport on a neutral field to resume this past Wednesday’s game that was suspended due to rain in the bottom of the fifth tied 2-2. The resumption is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start.
The Red Dragons have won at least a share of the SUNYAC regular-season crown each of the last five years. The conference playoffs, with an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III tournament the reward for the winner, will start this coming Thursday at Dragon Field in Cortland.
Plattsburgh now stands 12-4 in SUNYAC play, with a 28-6 overall record.
Cortland 6, Plattsburgh 1: Martin, senior Donnalyn Cross and senior Katie Fusco all hit solo homers for Cortland in support of starting pitcher Lyndsay Rowell. Now 16-2 this spring, Rowell allowed four hits, no walks and one run and struck out seven.
Plattsburgh took a 1-0 lead on a Megan Price solo homer in the second. Cortland tied the game in the top of third. Cross hit a fly ball that was misplayed by the center fielder. Cross advanced to third on the error, then broke for home when Plattsburgh pitcher Ashley Marshall was walking back near the circle and snuck in safely.
Martin homered with one out in the fourth to put Cortland up 2-1. Fusco led off the fifth with a round-tripper, followed by a Cross homer two batters later. The Red Dragons added two runs in the seventh on a Martin RBI grounder and Meaghan Kohler’s RBI single.
Cross finished 2-for-4 with a homer, double and three runs scored. Martin was 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs and Kohler went 2-for-4 and drove in a run.
Marshall, who entered the game with a 0.82 ERA, allowed 10 hits and six runs, five earned. She’s now 15-4 on the season. Price finished 2-for-3 with a homer.
Cortland 8, Plattsburgh 6: Plattsburgh led 6-0 after six innings and appeared ready to split the doubleheader and keep its regular-season title hopes alive. Allison Smiddy hit a two-run homer in the second and Brianna Clarke hit a grand slam in the fifth off Cortland starter Morgan Kuhn.
Cortland managed only five hits over the first six innings against Plattsburgh starter Heather Loughran. The Red Dragons recorded eight hits, however, in their eight-run seventh. Kohler, Lorraine Stoddard and Cassie Kardias opened the inning with three consecutive singles to load the bases. Fusco then singled to shortstop to drive in a run and cut the deficit to 6-1.
One out later, Cross singled to the pitcher to drive in a run and Lucia Meola hit a two-run single to center to draw the Red Dragons within 6-4, and Meola took second on the throw home. Jessica Harman followed by hitting a ball that was misplayed by the first baseman. Cross scored on the play and Meola took third.
Martin then clobbered an opposite-field line drive over the right field fence for a three-run homer to cap the rally.
Martin also earned the win in relief of Kuhn and is 8-0 on the season. She gave up just one hit in three scoreless innings and struck out five. Martin walked two batters in the seventh but got a fielder’s choice to end the game.
Fusco finished 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Red Dragons. Cross, Meola, Kohler and Stoddard were each 2-for-4. Price was 3-for-4 and Kayla Rabideau was 2-for-4 for Plattsburgh.


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