NEW YORK — The Columbia softball team begins an eight-game road swing when it travels to Rider for a non-conference doubleheader on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Columbia (16-20, 7-5 Ivy) is coming off a four-game Ivy League series split against Cornell over the weekend. The Lions dropped the first two games on Saturday at the Columbia Softball Stadium, but rebounded with a Sunday sweep, 4-3 and 11-6, to move into sole possession of second place in the South Division standings. Princeton (10-2 Ivy) sits three games ahead. The Lions and Tigers will square off in a pivotal four-game series this weekend at Princeton.
Rider (6-27, 1-7 MAAC) dropped two over the weekend to conference foe Fairfield, 9-1 and 5-0. The Broncs picked up their only MAAC victory two Saturdays ago, 8-7, in a split with Monmouth. Monica Clark leads an offense hitting just .200 as team with a .237 batting average, which includes 22 hits and two home runs. Rider holds a 6.29 staff ERA, led by Delany DeMallo’s 3.44 mark in 36 2-3 innings pitched.
LAST TIME OUT
Columbia split a four-game series with Cornell, picking up two crucial victories, 4-3 and 11-6, on Sunday. First-year Sommer Grzybek highlighted the offense with a 5-for-7 day at the plate. The centerfielder had two doubles on the day, going 3 for 4 in game one and 2 for 3 in game two with three RBIs. Sophomore Bonnie Schipper, sophomore Jordan Townsend, junior Olivia Parker and first-year Amber Swinarski all had three-hit days. Rookie pitchers Madison Canby (10-8) and Erin Gallo (3-5) took the victories. Canby went the distance in game one, allowing seven hits and just two earned runs while striking out a pair. She picked up the save in back end, relieving Gallo in a 9-5 game with the bases loaded and two down in the fifth. She allowed just one earned run over the final 2 1-3 innings.
GRZYBEK’S BIG WEEK
First-year Sommer Grzybek was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week and garnered national recognition by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), landing on its Top Performances of the Week. Grzybek hit an impressive .579 (11 for 19) with a .667 on-base percentage and .947 slugging percentage to lead the Lions to a 4-2 record. The rookie centerfielder hit her seventh home run of the campaign, adding four doubles, four runs scored and nine RBIs. She also showed off her defensive skills, coming up with a diving catch and helping turn a pair of double plays from the outfield in Sunday’s wins over Cornell. It was her third Ivy League Rookie of the Week selection, also being named Player of the Week on March 20.
FEELIN’ RIGHT AT HOME
The Lions are 10-2 (.833) this season at home and are on pace to post their best home winning percentage in program history. The 2014 team started 12-0 at home before finishing the season a program-best 15-6 (.714). Columbia opened the home schedule on March 24 with a two-game sweep over Monmouth and proceeded to win each of their first eight at Columbia Softball Stadium. It marked the team’s longest home winning streak since 2014, when the Lions rolled off their first 12 home games.
Columbia leads the Ivy League with 25 home runs and rank among the top 100 in the NCAA at 0.69 home runs per game. Junior Madison Gott and first-year Sommer Grzybek lead the way with eight and seven home runs, respectively, ranking No. 1 and No. 2 in the Ivy League. Gott also heads the Ancient Eight in RBIs (28), doubles (9), total bases (82) and hits (47). The junior shortstop is No. 2 in slugging (.719), No. 3 in batting average (.412) and No. 5 in OBP (.456). Grzybek ranks right behind Gott in RBIs with 27, and is also No. 2 in total bases (73), No. 3 in doubles (7) and No. 3 in slugging (.670).
GOTT BREAKS CAREER HOME RUN RECORD
Junior Madison Gott hit her 19th career home run last Thursday against Saint Peter’s to become the Columbia softball program’s new career record holder. The former record belonged to Maggie Johnson ‘11CC, who hit 18 from 2007-11. Gott’s record-breaking homer came in the second inning of game two, crushing a 1-2 pitch out to center to give the Lions a 4-1 lead. She added to her total with her 20th career blast on Saturday against Cornell and is two home runs away from cracking the top 20 in Ivy League history.
ROOKIES IN THE CIRCLE
Rookies Madison Canby and Erin Gallo have combined to start each of the last 22 games in the circle, and have started 28 of the 36 games this season. Canby (10-8) has done the bulk of the work, making 19 starts and combining for 118 innings pitched in 28 appearances. Canby’s leads the Ivy League in wins (10), starts (19) and appearances (28).
Fifteen of Columbia’s 36 games have either been decided by one run or gone to extra innings. The Lions hold an 7-8 record in such games, playing two of them this past weekend against Cornell. The Big Red took a nine-inning decision on Saturday, 7-3, but Columbia held on for a one-run win on Sunday, 4-3.
IVY LEAGUE WEEKLY AWARD WINNERS
Player of the Week – March 20 – Sommer Grzybek
Rookie of the Week – March 20 – Sommer Grzybek
Rookie of the Week – March 27 – Madison Canby
Rookie of the Week – April 3 – Sommer Grzybek, Madison Canby
Pitcher of the Week – April 3 – Madison Canby
Rookie of the Week – April 17 – Sommer Grzybek
IVY LEAGUE WEEKLY HONOR ROLL
February 27 – Bonnie Schipper, Tonia Wu
March 6 – Tonia Wu, Madison Gott, Madison Canby
March 13 – Madison Gott, Olivia Parker
March 20 – Madison Gott, Bonnie Schipper, Erin Gallo
March 27 – Kerry Cook, Olivia Parker
April 3 – Taylor Troutt
April 10 – Madison Gott, Sommer Grzybek
April 17 – Madison Gott, Madison Canby, Jordan Townsend