The Lions (10-27) lost the first game, 4-1. FDU (25-16) survived a late Columbia rally to take the second game, 4-3.
GAME 2: Fairleigh Dickinson 4, Columbia 3
Much like the first game, Columbia was the first team to score, plating one run in the first inning. Emily Caruthers opened the game with an infield single to short. Three batters later, Morgan Cook drew a two-out, full-count walk off FDU starter Marie Shaughnessy. Liz Caggiano followed with an RBI single to center field to drive in Caruthers from third base.
Fairleigh Dickinson took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third. With two outs and Cindy Zamudio on second, Caitlin Bradac hit a home run off a 1-2 pitch from Columbia starter Kalli Schultea.
The Knights reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Jordan Needle hit a one-out sacrifice fly to right field to plate Zamudio from third base. The Columbia defense came up with a key 9-3 double play to end the inning when Maria Roney flied out to Mackensey Lakian in right field and Lakian gunned a throw to Morgan Cook at first base to catch Bradac retreating to the bag.
Columbia left two runners stranded in the top of the sixth. Alison Lam hit a leadoff single up the middle and Jennifer Bergeron reached on a one-out fielder’s choice sac bunt. Bradac, who had started the inning in the circle, escaped the jam with back-to-back strikeouts.
Fairleigh Dickinson extended its lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth when Zamudio hit a two-out RBI single up the middle off relief pitcher Tristin Moone.
Caggiano opened the seventh with a leadoff home run, drilling a 3-1 pitch from Bradac over the wall. Megan Reiner entered in relief and fanned the next three batters to earn the save.
Caggiano finished a perfect 3-of-3 at the plate with the home run, two RBI and one walk. Caruthers was 2-of-4 with one run scored. Shimoda was 2-of-3 with one double, one RBI and one walk. Lam was a perfect 2-of-2.
Schultea (3-13) took the loss after fanning three batters and allowing four earned runs over 5.2 frames.
Shaughnessy (7-6) earned the win after striking out two and allowing one earned run over five innings. Bradac had three strikeouts and one earned run in one relief inning. Reiner had three strikeouts in the seventh to earn her fourth save on the season.
GAME 1: Fairleigh Dickinson 4, Columbia 1
After a scoreless first inning, Columbia took a 1-0 lead in the second thanks to Liz Caggiano. With two outs, Caggiano hammered a 2-1 pitch from FDU starter Megan Reiner over the wall in left center for her third home run of the season.
Fairleigh Dickinson evened the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second. With two outs and Bryana Dorado on second base, Marikka Benson hit a 2-2 pitch from Columbia starter Brooke Darling to center field for an RBI single.
Two and a half scoreless innings later, the Knights poured on three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the 4-1 advantage. With two on and one out, Caitlin Bradac knocked an RBI single to right field. Jordan Needle followed with a two-RBI single to clear the bases.
The Lions’ best chance to come back was in the top of the sixth. Emily Caruthers opened the ining with a single to center field. After Alison Lam advanced her to second with a sac bunt, Alix Cook connected for a single to right field. Two batters later, with two outs and runners on the corners, Morgan Cook drew a walk on a full count to load the bases. Reiner escaped the Columbia scoring threat when she induced a groundout to third.
Columbia had another chance to rally back in the top of the seventh. Caggiano and Christie Taylor drew back-to-back walks on full counts to open the inning. After a groundout to the pitcher, the Lions had two runners in scoring position. Reiner left both Lions runners stranded when she struck out the next two batters.
Caruthers was 2-of-4 at the dish. Caggiano finished 1-of-2 with the solo homer and one walk.
Darling (7-13) took the loss after striking out two and allowing three earned runs over six frames.
Reiner (14-6) earned the win after tallying six strikeouts and allowing one earned run over seven innings of work.
The Lions will return to Columbia Softball Field on Friday to open their four-game series against Princeton. Friday’s doubleheader starts at 2:30 p.m. while Saturday’s action starts at 12:30 p.m.