The Muhlenberg softball team is off to their best start since 2014, courtesy of some stellar performances by a freshman pitcher. They have roared out of the gates, going 11-3, nearly matching last years win total of 12. All of this before they have even played a conference game.

Thanks to the pitching of Cora Bridgers ‘22, the Mules rolled through their 12 games in Florida over spring break. They came home with a 10-2 record, including a win over 18th ranked Rhodes College. In four starts in Florida, she threw four complete games, leading the Mules to wins in all of them. She nearly pitched two no-hitters that were eventually one hitters, one being a meaningless single in the last half inning.    

The freshman hurler was humble, however, when asked about her hot start, “I would 100 percent attribute my performance as well as all of my teammate’s incredible performances to our preseason. We all worked our behinds off to advance ourselves as a team as well as individuals, sometimes going to triple sessions each day. For myself specifically, it was the amount of time spent upon focusing on what I can use as a powerful force in the circle, asking myself what pitches have been consistent and how can I continue to make them better.” And, she made sure to credit her teammates for her success, “In addition, a pitcher is nothing without her defense and offense behind her and I cannot thank my team enough for their insane effort and talent.”

Through the first nine starts of Bridgers collegiate career, she is 6-1 with a 0.67 ERA.  She broke a Muhlenberg record along the way, becoming the first Mule ever to win in her first six starts.  

Bridgers had an outrageous 0.31 ERA through those first six, which was good enough for the best in all of Division III for pitchers with a minimum of 30 innings pitched.  For her outstanding performances, she has been awarded Centennial Conference pitcher of the week two weeks in a row.

She has seemed to handle to transition to college softball extremely well, which she attributed to preparation, “The transition from high school to college softball has been a long road beginning early in the fall. There is an extreme difference of overall effort that any player needs to put in to be efficient on the field, such as lifts, conditioning, long practices, extra reps, etc., and off the field in school, continuously catching up and getting ahead on classwork,” she said. “Aside from managing time wisely, an obvious increase of talent in competition during games, and of course the early mornings, the transition was smooth and definitely bearable for me.”

Bridgers is not new to success on the diamond.  At Steinert High School, Bridgers’ teams were among the best in New Jersey for all four years. They racked up three Central Jersey Sectional Championships, and collected two state championships.

Muhlenberg has not won the Conference Tournament since 2011, but as of now they have the most wins in the Centennial Conference. These are just the first few weeks of Bridgers collegiate career, and what will hopefully lead to four years of contention for another conference title.

Bridgers will be heavily relied on in the coming weeks when the group kicks off a tough stretch of conference games on March 30. They take on conference rivals Gettysburg and Swarthmore in a three day stretch.


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