Corrigan on a roll
Cortland State's Corrigan has a 9-1 record in postseason play
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- With all the talk of the top pitchers in the nation this week, it is time to include Cortland State junior Amber Corrigan.
Corrigan shut down Salisbury in the opening game of the 2013 NCAA Division III Softball tournament, putting an end to the Sea Gulls 28-game winning streak. Corrigan tossed a complete game, allowing just four hits and one run as Cortland upset the nation’s top team 2-1.
“Everyone can win any given day this time of year,” Corrigan said. “We just wanted it more.”
Since the start of the postseason, Corrigan has posted a 9-1 record with a 1.08 ERA while surrendering just 39 hits in 71 innings of work. She has tossed nine complete games during this stretch, including consecutive extra-innings games of 13 and nine innings against Plattsburgh State in the SUNYAC tournament.
“[Corrigan] has been a different pitcher the last third of the season,” Cortland head coach Julie Lenhart said.
Corrigan also won her three outings prior to the postseason, allowing just one earned run in 16 innings, while fanning 10 batters.
On Friday morning, Corrigan added another compelling performance to her resume with a complete game victory against a potent Salisbury lineup, marking just the third time the Sea Gulls have recorded four hits or fewer all season.
“It could be over any day,” Corrigan said about her late-season success. “Just got to keep going.”
Cortland catcher Briana Barca made a couple visits to Corrigan in pressure situations. In the bottom of the first with a runner on and a 2-0 count, Barca made her first trip to relax her pitcher. Corrigan followed up with three consecutive strikes for one of her two strikeouts. Again in the bottom of the fourth, with a runner on first and another 2-0 count, Barca paused the game to see her pitcher. Corrigan bounced back again, forcing two routine pop ups to end the inning.
“She gives me a second to take a breath,” Corrigan said. “Usually tells me a joke and gets me to relax.”
Holding a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the final inning, Salisbury put runners on first and second with two outs. With the potential game-winning run on first base, Corrigan stared down one of the best hitters in the division, Salisbury’s Michelle Gravdahl. She is a .462 hitter with 10 home runs and 48 RBIs on the season.
“I am comfortable with two outs and can go right at them,” Corrigan said. “I know my team has my back and they will make the plays.”
The Red Dragons defense proved this to be true, committing an error-free game in the national finals opener.
In the final at bat, Corrigan forced Gravdahl to hit a ground ball to short stop Erin Wolstenholme, who flipped the ball to Lucia Meola at second base for the force out, completing the Red Dragons 25th win in their last 30 games.
With the victory, Cortland advanced to the next round against the winner of the Anderson (Ind.) versus Luther on Saturday. As long as Corrigan is throwing for the Red Dragons, they are going to be a tough team to beat.
“We just have to have the same mindset,” Corrigan said. “We have to keep battling.”
And Corrigan has been battling. During the last month of the season, she has picked up 12 of her 19 victories, while holding a sub-one-run ERA. With the biggest victory coming this morning as Cortland handed the Sea Gulls their first loss since March 10th.
Some of the country’s top hurlers are in Eau Claire this week seeking a national title. Make sure to include Cortland’s Amber Corrigan on this list as she just put her team one game closer to the ultimate prize.