BOCA RATON, Fla. — The Columbia softball team faced two reigning conference champions on Saturday at the FAU “Strike-Out-Cancer” Tournament. The Lions were defeated in game one by Tulsa, 4-0, and suffered a one-run loss to Illinois-Chicago, 5-4.
“Even though we didn’t win, I’m not discouraged at all about how today went,” head coach Jennifer Teague said. “I’m trying to keep everything in perspective for these girls. The teams we’ve been playing this weekend are established programs that are winning their conferences. We have competed in every game and I think we’re making real strides.”
Madison Gott led the offense with a 3-for-6 day at the plate. The senior shortstop had two doubles, including one in the first inning against UIC that helped the Lions take the early lead. First-year Maria Pagane went 2-for-6 at the dish for her second straight two-hit day.
In the circle, sophomore Madison Canby tossed 9 2-3 innings, including a complete-game against Tulsa in which she allowed three earned runs and struck out four. She pitched 3 2-3 innings of relief against UIC, allowing just a one run on one hit.
Columbia completes its season-opening tournament on Sunday morning with a single game against Texas State. First pitch is slated for 9 a.m.
Columbia could only muster two hits off Tulsa’s Emily Watson, who struck out 13 Lions on her way to a shutout victory, 4-0, in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Columbia had its first scoring opportunity in the fourth. Pagane singled and Gott reached on an error to put two on with one out for Sommer Grzybek. Watson was able to set the reigning All-Ivy League selection down on strikes and retired the side on a punch out of Taylor Troutt.
Tulsa plated two runs in the first inning and padded its lead to 3-0 with a two-out rally in the third. Sophomore Madison Canby retired the first two batters before three straight singles brought in the third run of the game. Canby pitched a complete game, allowed three earned and striking out four.
|Erin Gallo (L, 0-1)||3.1||3||4||2||4||2|
Columbia nearly earned its first win of the season in game two, but the reigning American Athletic Conference champions tied the game in the fourth before plating the go-ahead run in the sixth for a 5-4 victory.
Madison Gott went 2-for-3 with two runs, a double and an RBI spur the offense. The top four hitters in the batting order each got at least one hit, but 5-9 combined to go 0-for-14.
UIC struck for a run on a sac fly in the first, but the Lions responded with two in the bottom half to take the lead. Gott broke through with an RBI double to score Genny Soltesz. Later in the inning, with Gott on third and Grzybek on first, Coach Teague put on the double steal to bring home Gott and put the Lions ahead 2-1.
Alyssa Griman got the lead right back for UIC with a two-run double to the gap in left center in the second. Sophomore starter Erin Gallo was able to strike out Jasmine Willis and pop out Lexi Watts to retire the side and keep it a one-run game. Gallo went 3 1-3 innings, allowing two earned while striking out two and walking four.
The seesaw battle took another turn when Columbia scored twice in the third to take a 4-3 lead. Soltesz and Gott singled and advanced into scoring position for Grzybek, who drove one back through the middle to tie the game. Bonnie Schipper brought home Gott for the go-ahead run on a grounder to short.
A two-out error retied the game, 4-4, in the fourth. After the Flames loaded the bases with one out, Coach Teague went to the bullpen for game-one starter Madison Canby. The Florida native got Willis to strike out before inducing a ground ball to second baseman Maura Lynch, but she couldn’t field it cleanly. Watts scored from third, but Emily Wetzel was thrown out at home trying to score from second to keep it a tie game.
The game remained deadlocked until the sixth, when the Flames brought home the eventual game-winning run. Griman drove it in on a single to score Cairns from second.