CEDAR RAPIDS – Freshman Kendra Christensen's ninth-inning grand slam powered Cornell's softball team to a 7-3 Game 1 victory over No. 9 nationally-ranked Coe Wednesday afternoon at Clark Field.
The Rams fell 5-2 in the nightcap, which was called in the bottom of the sixth inning due to darkness.
But it was Christensen's extra-inning heroics that gave Cornell one point toward the 2013-14 Bremner Cup All-Sport Series, which is now tied 7-7 with three head-to-head competitions remaining between the rival schools. This is the second straight year Cornell has taken a point over the favored Kohawks in the designated Bremner Cup game in softball.
Tied 3-3 entering the top of the ninth, Cornell (6-5) got things going with a lead-off walk from Caitlin Bisinger. A sacrifice bunt and wild pitch moved Bisinger to third, and then Kelsey Boss and Rebekah Ozga drew back-to-back walks to load the bases for Christensen.
Christensen, the team's No. 3 hitter, found an opportune time for her first collegiate homer, launching the decisive grand slam over the left-field fence to put the Rams ahead 7-3.
Senior ace Jackie Sernek finished off the Kohawks (14-3) in the bottom of the ninth for the complete-game victory, bumping her season record to 4-1.
Sernek and Coe's Maddison Woodruff (9-1) locked into a pitchers' duel after some offensive fireworks in the first inning. Cornell junior Kari Martin went deep for a three-run homer in the top of the first. Coe answered with a three-run shot by Danielle Schlotterbeck in the bottom half that tied it at 3-3.
Sernek would surrender just one hit over the final eight innings, a harmless two-out single in the ninth. She allowed four total hits, struck out two and walked four.
Boss went 3-for-3 with a pair of runs for Cornell. Christensen doubled, homered and scored twice. Martin's early home run was her third of the season.
In Game 2, the Kohawks took a 1-0 lead on a solo homer in the first. Cornell evened the score on a hit by Bisinger in the second. Coe scored twice more in the bottom of the second.
The Rams got within 3-2 on a Sabrina Hargis sacrifice fly in the fourth. The Kohawks added two more runs in their half of the fourth to complete the scoring.
Martin led Cornell's six-hit attack, going 2-for-2 with a double. Christensen also had a double.
Cornell freshman Jesse Applehans (2-3) allowed eight hits and four earned runs over five innings.
Coming up – The Rams open the home portion of their schedule Friday with a 4 p.m. doubleheader against Loras. Cornell plays host to Martin Luther at 12 p.m. on Sunday.