The Columbia softball team will play in its final tournament of the season this weekend at the Colorado State Invitational. The Lions (9-8) will take on Marist, the host Rams, and Ball State from Friday to Sunday.
The Lions went 7-3 at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla. to bring their record over .500 for the season. Columbia’s offensive found its groove, averaging 4.5 runs per game and posting a .288 batting average. The trip allowed the Lions’ pitching to show their depth as well. Columbia used four pitchers, who combined to record a 1.52 ERA with 45 strikeouts.
Marist is 6-9 on the season, dropping seven-straight after getting off to a 6-2 start. Nicole Cheek leads teh Red Foxes, hitting .391 with four home runs and 11 runs scored. Emily Osterhaus has started a team-high five games in the circle, and owns a 2-4 record with a 1.95 ERA. As a team, Marist is batting .266, and owns a 2.65 ERA.
SCOUTING COLORADO STATE
The Rams boast a 13-14 overall record and are coming off a 4-2 road-swing at San Diego last weekend. Ashlie Cook is CSU’s top offensive threat, hitting .375 with five homers and 19 RBI. Kacie McCarthy already has 10 wins to her name and has posted a 2.33 ERA with 84 strikeouts. The Rams are hitting .256 as a team and their pitching staff boasts a 3.21 ERA.
SCOUTING BALL STATE
The Cardinals, picked as the favorite to win the 2013 Mid-American Conference title, enter the weekend with a 13-10 record. Jennifer Gilbert leads Ball State with a .466 batting average, eight home runs, 26 RBI and 25 runs scored. In the circle, Nicole Steinbach has thrown three complete-game shutouts and owns a team-best 2.27 ERA. The Cardinals hit .315 as a team.
HONORS KEEP ROLLING IN
Junior Emily Snodgrass became the second Lion to earn Ivy League Player of the Week status after hitting .412 with three home runs and six RBI. She finished the Rebel Games with a scorching .438 batting average, four dingers, 12 RBI and 10 runs. She is also boasting a seven-game hit streak and has reached base safely in 12 consecutive contests.
The Lions pitching staff has been a huge strength early this season. In last week’s NCAA rankings, Columbia ranked eighth in the country with a 1.45 ERA through games played on March 17.
Sophomore Alix Cook has reached base safely in all 17 of the Lions’ games this season. She comes into the weekend riding a seven-game hit-streak. In addition, Cook has struck out just two times in 57 at bats after ranking as the 14th toughest batter to fan in 2012.
First-year Emily Kenyon has made an immediate impact for the Columbia this season, posting a 1.96 ERA with a team-best 45 strikeouts. She has earned a spot on the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll twice for her efforts.
DARLING WORKING OVERTIME
Sophomore starting hurler Brooke Darling has also gotten off to a strong start, earning four victories with a 1.41 ERA in 44.2 innings of work. She opened the year pitching a pair of complete-games that went extra innings.
ISN’T SHE GRAND?
First-year Nicole Borchard’s first career home run was one to remember, a grand slam in a 6-0 victory over Rider on March 19. Borchard, who has started all 17 games for Columbia at second base, finished the game with a career-best five RBI.
First-year pitcher Tessa Kroll posted a complete-game shutout to pick up her fist career win against Rider on March 19. The tall right-hander struck out five battes and allowed just five hits in the victory.