CLERMONT, Fla. - Cornell's softball team racked up five wins and more impressive offensive numbers on a successful southern trip to the NTC Spring Games.
The Rams rebounded from a 7-4 opening-game loss to Ferrum Thursday and won their final five games during their stay in Florida. The team started the streak by claiming a 20-12 slugfest over Capital Thursday, followed by identical 4-2 victories over Concordia (Minn.) and Grove City Friday.
Cornell concluded play Sunday with wins over Neumann (3-0) and Muhlenberg (8-5). Coach Shanda Ness' squad carries an 8-2 overall record into a 19-day layoff.
The Rams hit .349 in Florida while scoring more than seven runs per contest. Senior outfielder Chrissy Rasor paced the attack with a .526 batting average (10-of-19) and .789 slugging percentage. Freshman Sabrina Hargis batted .500 (8-of-16) and scored a team-high seven runs. Rebekah Ozga led the team with eight RBIs.
Cornell was also solid inside the pitching circle with a 3.85 earned run average and 41 strikeouts over 40 innings. Jackie Sernek and Jill Trzaska both earned a pair of wins, while Amanda Engel delivered the other.
The team went out on a high note, scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning in a comeback win over Muhlenberg in Sunday's finale. Trzaska's single tied the score at 5-5 and freshman Kari Martin put Cornell ahead to stay with a two-run double, her second of the game.
Trzaska (3-1) fanned seven batters in the complete-game win. Hargis, Martin and Ozga drove in two runs apiece. Hargis connected for a solo home run in the first inning. The Rams got two hits apiece from Brittani Yost, Rasor, Trzaska and Kerbee Koehler.
Engel tossed the team's first shutout of the season against Neumann. The sophomore allowed five hits and struck out four to improve to 3-0. The Rams gave Engel all the support she needed with two unearned runs in the first. Abby Haubold added a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Yost went 3-for-4 against Neumann. Trzaska and Sernek each had a pair of hits.
Trzaska played a key role in Friday's two wins. The senior captain threw a four-hitter against Grove City with 12 strikeouts and no walks. Trzaska did not allow an earned run in seven innings. She helped herself at the plate with two hits. Sernek and Rilee Vest both drove in two runs, while Hargis scored twice.
The Rams rallied from a late 2-1 deficit against Concordia, sparked by Trzaska's go-ahead two-run single in the bottom of the sixth. She finished 3-for-3 at the plate. Rasor had two hits, including a triple.
Sernek (2-1) held Concordia to four hits in an 11-strikeout outing. Both runs she allowed were unearned.
Cornell's offense got rolling in Thursday's Capital game, which the Rams trailed 7-0 entering the bottom of the third. The Rams exploded for five runs in the third, five in the fourth, six in the fifth and four more in the sixth to end the contest via the eight-run mercy rule.
Freshman Britt Schoon blasted a grand slam in the fifth and finished 3-for-4 with six RBIs. Yost, Rasor and Sernek had three hits apiece, with Sernek accounting for two doubles. Yost and Rasor both drove in four runs, while Ozga had three RBIs. Sernek pitched 3.2 innings in relief to record the victory.
Ferrum limited the Rams to two hits in Thursday's opener. Ozga doubled home three runs in the seventh. Rasor scored two runs. Trzaska was dealt the loss, allowing six earned runs and nine hits.
Coming up - Cornell enters an extended break before resuming play March 24 with a doubleheader at Monmouth. The Rams travel to Illinois College for two games March 25.