RIVERDALE, N.Y. – The Columbia softball team played Manhattan to a doubleheader split on Tuesday afternoon. The Lions earned a convincing 11-1 win in five innings in the opener, but fell, 9-8, in nine innings in the nightcap.
The Lions (10-10) open up Ivy League play this Friday, March 29, when they host Dartmouth for a doubleheader. First pitch of game one is set for 2 p.m.
Columbia 11, Manhattan 1 (9 Inn.)
Despite spending the weekend in snowy Colorado, the Lions’ bats stayed hot and poured on six runs in the top of the first inning. Columbia filled the base paths on an Emily Caruthers walk and singles by Emily Snodgrass and Alix Cook. First-year Nicole Borchard followed with another base-hit to bring in the first two runs of the contest.
Sophomore Kayla Shimoda dropped down a bunt on a squeeze play to extend the margin to 3-0. Morgan Cook dropped down another bunt to plate Borchard after the Manhattan catcher mishandled a throw from starting pitcher Kate Bowen, and Alyssa Swearingen capped the inning’s scoring with a two-out double to make it 6-0.
The Jaspers managed to get one back in the bottom of the first, recording a double and single with one out for Elena Bowman, who singled to leftfield. Starting pitcher Emily Kenyon then hit the next batter to load the bases, but wiggled out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts to slam the door on a potential comeback.
An Alix Cook sacrifice fly and Borchard’s ground rule double added two more insurance runs in the fourth. In the fifth, Columbia put the game away with three runs, scoring on an error by the Jaspers’ outfield and a two-run blast by Macy Shrum for her second long ball of the season.
Kenyon settled in after the first inning, allowing just three hits the rest of the way and six for the duration. The first-year righty also posted six strikeouts to earn her fourth victory of the season.
Swearingen was 3-for-3, while Borchard and Shrum each picked up two hits.
Columbia 8, Manhattan 9 (9 Inn.)
Columbia scored twice in the top of the ninth and seemingly took control of the game, but Manhattan broke through with a miraculous two-out rally to even the season series between the clubs, 2-2.
After falling behind 4-0 heading into the third, the Lions went to work. With one out, Swearingen walked and Caruthers legged out an infield bunt single. Snodgrass delivered an RBI single to put Columbia on the board.
Manhattan then committed a pair of errors on the same play to allow the Lions to pull within, 4-3, and Borchard continued her strong offensive day with an RBI single to bring in Alix Cook to knot the score.
In the fourth, Columbia took its first lead off an opposite-field single to right by Snodgrass to plate Alison Lam. Borchard made it 6-4 with yet another key hit, a single to left field to drive in Caruthers for the fourth time on the day.
The Jaspers put two runners on base to start the bottom of the fifth and Amanda Paxson made it a one-run ballgame with a single that scored Emily Cutler from second base. With runners on first and third, Manhattan tried a delayed steal of home. It appeared that the Lions had Amanda Babcock picked off, but an errant throw brought in the tying run.
The score stayed even until the top of the ninth when Swearingen led things off with a single. Caruthers pushed the go-ahead run into scoring position with a sac bunt, forcing the Jaspers to intentionally walk Snodgrass to set up a force play.
While trying to give the free-pass, the Jaspers’ Amy Bright threw a wild pitch to move Swearingen 60 feet away from the dish. Alix Cook made Manhattan pay with a double to the gap in left-center to bring in both runners and give Columbia an 8-6 edge.
It appeared the Lions had the game sewn up after Kenyon, who came on in relief in the fifth, recorded a strikeout and forced a foul out. However, Amanda Paxson kept the game alive with a walk and Andi Stallard singled to bring the go-ahead run to bat.
Jen Keller hit a ball that was just out of the reach of a diving Emily Caruthers in centerfield and brought in both base runners. Keller wound up on third after the late relay throw home and scored the walk-off run on a base-hit that caromed off Kenyon’s glove.
Borchard finished 3-for-5 in the nightcap with a stolen base. Snodgrass was 2-for-4 with the two RBI and a pair of runs scored.
Kenyon took the loss (4-4), pitching 4.2 innings out of the bullpen, allowing three earned runs on three hits with six K’s.