NEW YORK – The Columbia softball team closes its 2012 Ivy League regular season this weekend with a home-and-away, four-game series against conference rival Penn. The teams will play doubleheader at Penn on Friday starting at 2 p.m. before heading back to the Big Apple for two games on Saturday starting at 12:30 p.m.
Friday’s doubleheader at Penn Park will feature free live statistics through PennAthletics.com. Saturday’s doubleheader at Columbia Softball Field will feature free live statistics and a free live blog through GoColumbiaLions.com.
Columbia (12-29, 6-10 Ivy League) is coming off a split in its four-game season series against Princeton on April 20-21. The Lions closed out the series with a big 8-2 win in last Saturday’s second game. First-year Liz Caggiano gave Columbia control of the game early when she blasted a three-run bomb over the wall in center field to put the Lions ahead 3-1 in the first inning.That home run was Caggiano's fifth on the season and tied the Columbia rookie home run record set by Valerie Smith back in 2006.
Penn (28-15, 11-5 Ivy League) is fresh off a Wednesday home win over Delaware. The Quakers edged the Blue Hens, 3-2, thanks to Sydney Turchin’s RBI single in the seventh inning.
Penn leads the all-time series between the teams 21-12. The Quakers took three of four games in last season’s four-game series, but Columbia won the last meeting, 9-5. In that game, the Lions came back from a 5-0 deficit with six runs in the sixth and three in the seventh.
CAGGIANO MUSCLES WAY TO ANOTHER ROOKIE OF WEEK AWARD
First-year Liz Caggiano is coming off a big week in which she hit .467 against Fairleigh Dickinson and Princeton with three home runs, seven RBI, three runs scored and five walks. She posted a 1.067 slugging percentage and a .600 on-base percentage. This is Caggiano’s second Ivy League Softball Rookie of the Week award of the season as she also garnered the honors back on March 6.
Fellow Lions first-years Brooke Darling and Kayla Shimoda were named to the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll for their strong performances this past week. Shimoda enjoyed a fine week at he plate, hitting .467 with three doubles, two RBI and two runs scored. Her slugging percentage was .667 and her on-base percentage was .529. Shimoda also had three multi-hit games this past week.
Bergeron has a .391 batting average (9-of-23) against Penn in eight career games against the Quakers. She also has one home run, one double, seven RBI, six runs scored and two stolen bases against the Quakers. Bergeron almost single-handedly beat Penn in the 2011 season finale, hitting a two-RBI single up the middle and scoring in the Lions’ six-run sixth and then clubbing a three-run homer to left in the seventh. Columbia won that game, 9-5.
Snodgrass hit .333 against Penn in 2011 going 4-of-12 with one double, one RBI and three runs scored. She recorded a hit in each of her four games against the Quakers.
After her big week at the plate, Liz Caggiano has stepped into the role as Columbia’s most efficient hitter. Caggiano leads the team with an average of 6.17 runs created per seven innings. She leads the squad with 12 extra-base hits (five homers, seven doubles) also boasts the team’s highest OPS at .883 (.392 on-base, 3.91 slugging). Caggiano has also reached base safely in eight consecutive games.
Emily Caruthers, whose .400 batting average leads the team, is responsible for 5.89 runs per seven innings. Tristin Moone is batting .296 with four home runs and 14 RBI and creates 4.75 runs per seven innings.
Morgan Cook remains one of the Lions most productive hitters. For her, success seems to come in bunches as she leads the team with nine multi-hit games and five multi-RBI games.
For Alix Cook, when the count is 0-2, her batting average is .500 (7-of-14). When there is a runner on third base and there are two outs, she hits .833 (5-of-6) to get that runner in. Alix Cook is also one of the toughest batters in the nation to strikeout. She is tied for 16th in the country and leads the Ivy League with 29.8 at-bats per strikeout.
SCOUTING THE QUAKERS
Penn is 28-15 on the year and 11-5 in conference play to tie it with Cornell for the lead in the Ivy League South Division. The Quakers have won four of their last five and eight of their last 10. Penn is also really tough at home with a 15-3 record at Penn Park.
The Quakers are a team that is built off power pitching and patience at the plate. They rank second in the Ivy League in team ERA (2.36) and strikeouts (255). In the batter’s box, Penn leads the league with 124 walks and is second with a .346 on-base percentage.
Penn’s offense features a combination of speed and power. First-year leadoff hitter Sydney Tuchin leads the squad with a .323 batting average, 31 runs, 22 walks and 12 stolen bases. Sophomore catcher Elysse Gorney has is a speedy no. 2 hitter who is batting .285 with 24 runs scored and nine stolen bases. After those two, the Quakers come at opponents with four power hitters. Sophomore Kayla Dahlerbruch (.298 BA, six HRs, six doubles, 24 RBI) bats third, with junior Brooke Coloma (.248 BA, four HRs, two doubles, 26 RBI) in cleanup. Junior Jessica Melendez (.261 BA, eight HRs, three doubles, 26 RBI) and sophomore Georgia Guttadauro (.277 BA, four HRs, one double, 16 RBI) are right behind her, batting fifth and sixth, respectively. Guttadauro won Ivy League Player of the Week last week after she hit .533 with two homers and six RBI against Cornell and Drexel.
In the circle, the Quakers have arguably the best pitcher in the league in first-year Alexis Borden. Borden leads the Ivy League with a 1.38 ERA, a 19-4 record, 18 complete games (tied), six shutouts and 152.2 innings pitched. With 162 strikeouts, she is just one of three Ivy League pitchers to average over 1.0 strikeout per inning. Borden has also held opposing hitters to a .217 average. Penn’s no. 2 pitcher is Mikenzie Voves. Voves is having a solid sophomore season with a 2.90 ERA, 7-7 record and 81 strikeouts over 21 appearances and 99.0 innings pitched.
Penn is enjoying a significant improvement from last season when it went 18-21-1 and 9-10 in conference play and took second in the Ivy League South Division.
The Lions will close their 2012 season with doubleheader against Manhattan on Tuesday, May 1, starting at 1:30 p.m.