|Madison Canby (W, 8-7)||4.0||3||1||1||1||0|
NEW YORK — The Columbia softball team hit three home runs to power its way past local rival Manhattan, 8-7, Wednesday evening at the Columbia Softball Stadium.
Columbia (14-16) scored seven of its eight runs on dingers from senior Taylor Troutt, first-year Maria Pagane and sophomore Amanda Nishihira. Nishihira provided the deciding blow, sending a three-run shot a shade to left-center in the third to put the Lions on top, 8-6. Sophomore Madison Canby (8-7) allowed just one run across the final four innings to earn the victory.
“Taylor and Maria really came up big and our defense did a good job of shutting the door in the final innings.” said Nishihira, who is one of two Lions with six home runs this season to lead the Ivy League. “Our pitching did such a good job of working from ahead in the count and keeping us in the game so we could battle back.”
Manhattan (14-16) scored in each of the first four innings, taking a 1-0 lead in the first, 5-3 lead in the second and 6-4 lead in the third. Lauren Pitney provided all four second-inning runs on a grand slam, and hit her second homer of the game to cut Columbia’s lead to 8-7 in the fourth.
Canby, who entered for starting pitcher Erin Gallo to begin the fourth inning, allowed just two more hits and one walk after Pitney’s leadoff homer in the fourth. She retired nine of 11 Jaspers at one point and did not allow a hit across the final two innings.
The first three innings were a slugfest. After Manhattan scored the opening tally on a bases-loaded walk in the first, Columbia answered with three in the bottom half on Troutt’s three-run blast that curled around the left-field foul pole. Senior Madison Gott and sophomore Amber Swinarski scored on the two-out shot.
The Jaspers were quick to take the lead right back. A hit batsman and a fielding error helped to load the bases for the second consecutive inning, and this time Manhattan took advantage on a grand slam to left-center by Pitney, going ahead 5-3.
Columbia got one of those runs back on Pagane’s sixth homer of the year in the bottom half, but Manhattan retook a two-run lead in the third on an RBI double by Shannon Puthe. It brought the game to the bottom of the third with the Lions trailing, 6-4.
First-year Max Ortega cut the lead to one as part of a 2-for-3 day at the plate on a ball sent back up the middle that hit off the glove of a diving Pitney at second. It scored Grzybek and put two in scoring position for Nishihira. The sophomore from Los Alamitos, California, did the rest, blasting the second pitch of the at-bat well beyond the fence in center to put the Lions back on top.
Starting pitcher Kayla McDermott (4-3) was charged with all eight runs – five earned – through 2 2-3 innings. She was relieved following Nishihira’s home run by Nicole Williams, who allowed just one hit the rest of the way.
Columbia heads to Providence for a three-game, Ivy League series this weekend at Brown. First pitch for Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.