NEW YORK - The Columbia softball team fell twice to Cornell to begin a four-game series on Saturday. The Lions (16-18, 4-6) lost a heartbreaker, 7-5, in game one and dropped a 6-0 decision in the nightcap.
The Lions will wrap up the series with the Big Red tomorrow, April 14 with a doubleheader at the Columbia Softball Stadium. First pitch of game one is set for 12:30 p.m.
Columbia 5, Cornell 7
It looked like it would be a pitcher’s duel in the opener, with Emily Kenyon and the Big Red’s Alyson Onyon dealing their first times through the order.
Cornell struck first, plating two runs in the third inning after a two-out error by Columbia. Lauren Bucolo started the rally with a single and Emily Weinberg reached on another base hit that just grazed off the glove of third baseman Alix Cook, moving off the line.
Megan Parker was the next batter, and grounded a ball to second base. Nicole Borchard had trouble handling it with Weinberg running to second, recovered, but threw wide of first base to bring Bucolo from second. Erin Belles followed with another single that went off the glove of Kenyon to make it 2-0.
The Lions responded swiftly in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score. Alyssa Swearingen reached on a throwing error by second baseman Jenny Edwards and was moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Emily Snodgrass hit a rope to the gap in right-center to cut the deficit in half and Alix Cook knotted things up, 2-2, with a single to center.
The Big Red regained the lead in the fifth, loading the bases with no outs, but Kenyon nearly escaped the inning unscathed. Belles to hit a slow roller back to the circle to get a force out at home and Christina Vilalon hit a fly ball to rightfield that was caught by Kayla Shimoda. With Weinberg attempting to tag, Shimoda fired home a bullet to the plate, but Weinberg made a nice slide to avoid the tag and was called safe, making it 3-2.
Despite holding the lead, Cornell had not really hit Kenyon hard until a Michiko McGivney solo homer in the sixth added an insurance run.
Columbia answered in a big way in the sixth, starting with a single by Shimoda and a walk by Liz Caggiano put the tying runs on base with one out. Swearingen dropped in a single to score Shimoda, and moved to second on a throw home. Cornell gave Snodgrass an intentional pass to load the bases, but the strategy backfired when Alix Cook delivered a sharp single to center to give the Lions their first lead of the day, 5-4.
However, the Big Red sent the heart of their order to the plate in the top of the seventh and immediately put runners on second and third with no outs. Vilalon drew Cornell even again with a double to left-center. After a walk to load the bases, Kristen Towne singled to plate the go-ahead run. A hit batter with the bases loaded gave the Big Red some extra breathing room.
Alix Cook went 3-for-4 with three RBI and Snodgrass was 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Kenyon (7-8) allowed four earned runs in her 6.1 innings with five strikeouts.
Columbia 0, Cornell 6
The second game started out similar to the first, with each starting pitcher mowing down the opposing hitters the first time through the order.
Towne began a two-run inning for Cornell with a double and came around to score on an RBI single by Sam Creamer. With runners on second and third an RBI groundout by Parker.
Parker, who started game two in the circle, held the Lions at bay the duration of the game and the Big Red scored four times in the seventh to cap the victory.