|Line Score (Game 1)|
|Madison Canby (L, 9-8)||9.0||7||4||4||4||2|
|Line Score (Game 2)|
|Erin Gallo (L, 2-5)||7.0||11||5||5||1||4|
NEW YORK — Columbia and Cornell played two close games to begin a four-game Ivy League softball weekend series, but the Big Red came out on top in both, 7-3 (9) and 5-3, Saturday afternoon at the Columbia Softball Stadium.
Columbia (14-20, 5-5 Ivy) left 13 runners on base in the day’s first game, which saw Cornell (9-18, 3-7 Ivy) win in extras with a five-run ninth. The Lions put together a furious rally in the bottom half that brought the tying run to the plate with two down, but Lisa Nelson got Alexandra Yule to pop out to end it.
The Big Red scored four times in the second inning of game two to jump out to a 4-0 lead. Columbia responded with a run in the third, fourth and fifth innings, including junior Madison Gott’s 20th career home run to make it a 4-3 game in the fifth. After Cornell answered with a solo shot to make it a 5-3 game in the top of the sixth, Gott stepped back up representing the go-ahead run with two on in the bottom half, but got jammed and popped out. The Weston, Florida, native still had an impressive 4-for-7 day at the plate, including the home run, a double, two runs scored and three RBIs.
The losses ended Columbia's nine-game home winning streak that dated back to the final game of last season.
Games three and four of the series take place Sunday with first pitch slated for 12:30 p.m. Both games will be available on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Game 1 Recap: Cornell 7 – Columbia 3 (F/9)
First-year pitcher Madison Canby and Cornell’s Lisa Nelson went toe-to-toe in the circle over nine innings, but the Big Red broke through with five runs in the ninth to defeat the Lions, 7-3, in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Canby (9-8) had allowed just two runs despite eight hits and three walks entering the ninth. She stranded two in scoring position in the second and eighth innings. The rookie really settled in after Cornell scored its two runs in the third, retiring 10 of the next 11 batters and even working around a leadoff double in a tie game in the seventh.
A few defensive miscues helped the game come undone in the ninth. After Canby retired the first batter of the inning, Olivia Lam reached on an error at short that resulted in five consecutive Big Red batters reaching base. Sarah Murray singled home two with the bases loaded to break the 2-2 tie and Megan Murray followed with another run-scoring single to push the lead to three. Columbia’s second error of the inning brought in the final two runs.
Despite the five-run deficit, the Lions rallied in the bottom of the ninth. Senior Kerry Cook got it started with a leadoff triple and was later driven in on a deep sac fly to center by Gott. Back-to-back, two-out walks to pinch-hitter Amanda Nishihira and Olivia Parker brought Alexandra Yule to the plate with the bases loaded, representing the tying run, but the sophomore catcher popped a 1-1 pitch to the infield for the final out.
Columbia broke open the scoring in the second on a Jordan Townsend, two-out RBI single to center. It was the sophomore’s 10th run batted in of the campaign.
Cornell responded with two runs on three hits in its next turn at-bat. Jessica Bigbie doubled in the first run and later scored on a single through the middle by Megan Murray.
The Lions tied it right back up in the bottom half when Gott and Grzybek used both sides of the outfield on back-to-back hits. Gott doubled down the line in right and Grzybek sent the very next pitch down the line in left to level the score, 2-2.
The Lions had chances the rest of the way to take a lead, but could never bring the go-ahead run across. Yule doubled to start the fourth, but pinch-runner Genny Soltesz got caught in a rundown with one out to erase the threat. Grzybek doubled with first-year Amber Swinarski standing on first with two down in the bottom of the seventh, but Swinarski hesitated and had to hold at third. Nelson (5-3) got out of the inning by getting Bonnie Schipper to go down swinging.
Game 2 Recap: Cornell 5 – Columbia 3 (F)
Columbia fought from behind nearly the entire way and chipped away at Cornell’s four-run lead, but the Big Red held on to earn a Saturday sweep, 5-3, in game two.
Aside from the second inning, rookie Erin Gallo (2-5) did well to limit Cornell to just a run on five hits through the game’s six other innings, striking out four. After Cornell tallied four runs on six hits in the second, Gallo settled in and retired nine of the final 11 Big Red batters.
Columbia scratched out its first run on Cornell starter Maddie Orcutt (3-6) on Gott’s second RBI of the day in the third. A two-out rally in the fourth that began with a Maura Lynch single and ended with a Kerry Cook double to the wall in right center made it a 4-2 game in the fourth.
Gott led off the fifth by blasting a 3-2 pitch for her Ivy League-leading eighth home run of the season. After some initial confusion, the third-base umpire deemed the ball to have crossed over the left-field foul pole in fair territory before curling into foul territory, turning Cornell’s four-run lead into a one-run game.
Cornell gave itself a little breathing room when Lam hit a solo shot center in the sixth. Columbia put two on with the help of a pinch-hit single off the bat of Bonnie Schipper in the bottom half, bringing Gott to the dish as the go-ahead run with two out. Cornell went to the bullpen for Katie Lew, who was able to get Gott to pop out to end the inning. Lew went on to earn her first save of the season.