KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Columbia softball team split a doubleheader against Manhattan to wrap up the Rebel Spring Games on Wednesday afternoon. The Lions (9-8) earned a hard-fought 4-3 victory in nine innings in the nightcap after dropping a 6-2 decision in game one.
The Lions will head to Fort Collins, Colo. for the Colorado State Invitational. Columbia opens the tournament against Marist on Friday, March 22, at 1:15 p.m. EDT.
Columbia 2, Manhattan 6
The Jaspers (6-10) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, loading the bases with no outs after a double, walk and Columbia error. After a force out at home, Amanda Babcock grounded into a fielder’s choice to short to bring in the first run, and a wild throw prevented an out from being recorded on the play and extended the inning. Manhattan took advantage of the miscue, and Amanda Paxson drove in the other tally of the inning with another ground ball that led to a force play at second base.
Columbia responded swiftly in the bottom of the first, notching three straight hits to start the frame which included an RBI single by Alix Cook. With two outs and a runner on third, an error by the Jaspers’ third baseman brought in Emily Snodgrass to even the score at 2-2.
Meghan McDevitt put the score back in favor of Manhattan in the second, driving the first pitch she saw over the wall in rightfield. Kate Bowen added an RBI double later in the inning to add an insurance run.
A Jen Keller single scored Babcock in the third, and Heather Leone drew a bases load walk in the seventh to cap the scoring.
Snodgrass, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week, went 3-for-4, while Emily Caruthers was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Brooke Darling fell to 4-3 with the defeat, lasting 1.2 innings and allowing four runs, two earned.
Columbia 4, Manhattan 3 (9 Inn.)
The Lions regrouped to start game two and put three on the board in the top of the first inning. Caruthers and Alix Cook each notched singles to put runners on the corners for Snodgrass with one out. The junior designated player grounded a ball to second base that would have resulted in a run regardless with the infield playing back early in the contest. However, Bowen misplayed the ball allowing Snodgrass to reach first safely and overthrew first base to push both runners into scoring position.
The Jaspers got one back in the bottom of the first off of a sacrifice fly and evened the score in the second. With runners on first and third with one out, Jen Keller took off for second and neither of Columbia’s middle infielders covered the base, leading to a throw ending up in centerfield to pull Manhattan within, 3-2, and put Keller on third.
The next batter tried to lay down a squeeze bunt and the Lions had Keller caught between third and home on a flip to the plate. Keller smartly extended the rundown to allow Anna Gallacher to replace her on third base, and Columbia’s third error of the game allowed her to score to knot things up.
Both teams had chances throughout the rest of the game, but neither could capitalize as the game moved into extra innings.
The Jaspers had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the eighth when the international tiebreaker rule took effect.
Sydney Weedon’s sacrifice attempt somehow stayed fair along the third base line to earn her a base-hit and put the winning run 60 feet from the plate. First-year pitcher Emily Kenyon buckled down under pressure, getting the next batter to foul out, and then induced a ground ball to Macy Shrum, who made a nice charging play and throw home for the second out. A walk loaded the bases for Manhattan, but Bowen flied out to shallow rightfield to end the threat.
Caruthers started the ninth inning on second base and a successful sacrifice put her on third. Alix Cook was hit by a pitch, and Snodgrass delivered what proved to be the game-winning RBI with a groundout to second base that was hit deep enough to plate Caruthers.
Even with the tying run moving to third on a sacrifice bunt to start the inning, Kenyon sent the next two batters down via fly out to end the ballgame.
Kenyon (3-2) pitched five scoreless innings out of the bullpen, allowing three hits with a pair of strikeouts.
Caruthers picked up three more hits in game two, while Shrum also had a 2-for-4 day.