NEW YORK – Columbia softball head coach Kayla Noonan’s 200th career victory turned out to be a memorable one, as her Lions defeated Fairleigh Dickinson, 5-4, in game one off an Emily Caruthers walk-off single. Columbia (12-14) dropped the nightcap by a 10-7 count.
The Lions rallied from a three-run deficit in the first game to snap a mini three-game slide. In game two, FDU held a 10-3 lead, but had to hold off a feisty Columbia squad to preserve the split.
The Lions will return to Ivy League play on the road this weekend when they travel to Brown for a doubleheader. First pitch for game one is set for 2 p.m.
Columbia 5, FDU 4
The Knights (12-12) struck first in their first turn to bat, loading the bases with one out. Bree Dorado hit a groundball to short that Macy Shrum tried to turn into an inning-ending double play. However, the ball was hit slow enough for Dorado to beat the relay to first by a half-step and bring in the first run of the afternoon.
Durado was in the middle of things again in the third, driving in another run with an RBI single and later scored all the way from first base on a double by her teammate Mikayla Fernandez to extend the margin to 3-0.
Columbia’s offense broke out in the fifth inning, beginning with a leadoff double by Kayla Shimoda. Shimoda did not have to wait long to score after the next batter, Morgan Cook, posted an opposite field single to right to cut the deficit to two.
However, FDU erased that run in the top of the sixth when a two-out error by the Lions opened the door for the Knights. After the miscue, Julia Northcutt singled to put runners on the corners to set up a delayed steal try. Northcutt took off and Columbia opted to try to get the final out at second, but she beat the throw, opening the door for Hilary Floyd to come in from third base.
The Lions did not stay down for long, making it a 4-2 game after an Alix Cook triple that just landed fair over the bag at first base. Cook eventually scored on a wild pitch from third to pull Columbia within striking distance.
Liz Caggiano started the Lions’ rally with a double off the base off the wall in centerfield. First-year Alyssa Swearingen delivered a clutch triple to score pinch-runner Alison Lam, tying the game, 4-4. The next batter was Caruthers, who swung at the first pitch she saw and lofted a single into right to end the ballgame.
First-year Emily Kenyon settled in after the third inning to improve to 5-6 on the year. She pitched seven innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts.
Caggiano went 2-for-3 in the opener.
Columbia 7, FDU 10
Emily Snodgrass opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, coming around on a wild pitch to make it 1-0.
The Knights evened the score on an RBI groundout by Cindy Zamudio and took the lead after an error brought in a run from third base. A walk was issued to Floyd with the bases loaded and FDU went ahead, 3-1, in the third.
Like game one, Columbia bounced back and regained the lead in the bottom half of the frame. Snodgrass singled, stole second, and came around on a Borchard double to the gap in left-centerfield. Shimoda followed with another extra-base hit to even the score, 3-3, and Morgan Cook found a hole through the left-side of the infield to put the score back in favor of the Lions.
Fairleigh Dickinson busted the game open with seven runs on six hits in the fourth inning, but Columbia refused to go quietly.
The Lions posted a run in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but could not get over the hump in the end as they fell, 10-7.
Snodgrass was 4-for-4 from the dish with a long ball, her fifth of the year, with three runs scored and two RBI.