NEW YORK -- The Columbia softball team opened up Ivy League play with a doubleheader against Dartmouth on Saturday afternoon at Baker Athletics Complex. The Lions were nipped in the first game, 1-0, then fell behind early in the second contest and dropped a 9-4 decision.
First-year Emily Snodgrass went 4-for-6 in the twinbill and had an RBI double in game two. Senior Maggie Johnson was the tough-luck loser in the circle in game one, going the distance while allowing just one earned run and striking out one. Johnson also went 2-for-5 at the plate over two contests.
Each team struggled offensively over the first three innings, as Johnson and Dartmouth pitcher Evan Gray matched each other pitch-for-pitch. Gray allowed just one hit, an infield single to senior Anne Marie Skylis, through three while Johnson scattered three hits.
The contest would remain scoreless until the fourth, when the Big Green put together a two-out rally. With nobody on base, Hillary Hubert laced a double to the left-field corner. The next batter, Noelle Ramirez, went the other way with a single to right that plated Hubert and gave Dartmouth a 1-0 cushion.
Columbia threatened in the bottom half, as Snodgrass singled with one out and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Skylis stepped to the plate and made solid contact, but her hard-hit grounder went right to Kat Hicks at first base to end the inning.
Johnson set the Big Green down in order in each of the next two innings, while the Lions had numerous chances offensively but could not come through. In the bottom of the fifth, Johnson led off with a single up the middle. After a fielder's choice and a sacrifice bunt put a runner on second with two down, Gray induced a pop up to the third baseman to end the threat.
The bottom of the sixth saw Columbia load the bases with one out. Sophomore Jennifer Bergeron was hit by a pitch to lead off, and Snodgrass followed two batters later with an infield single. Senior Karen Tulig was also plunked to pack the sacks full of Lions.
Gray worked out of trouble by getting a pair of pop ups in the infield on two consecutive pitches to keep Dartmouth in front.
A beautiful 1-6-3 double play began by Johnson closed out the top half of the seventh, and the Lions once again put the leadoff runner on base as sophomore Alison Lam slapped a single to left. A sacrifice bunt advanced her to scoring position, but she would get no closer as Gray got the next two batters to close out the shutout victory.
Dartmouth jumped on top with four unearned runs over the first two innings of the contest. The first run in the opening inning came without the benefit of a hit, as Meghan Everett reached second base on an error, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a double steal.
The Big Green would tack on three in the top of the second, as another double steal and RBI singles from Everett and Audrey Kolodziej accounted for the runs.
Columbia halved its deficit in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of runs. Skylis singled through the left side, and Johnson followed with a double to right-center to put two runners in scoring position. First-year Tristin Moone came through with a two-run single up the middle to put the score at 4-2. Moone was thrown out trying to advance to second on the play, while Dartmouth pitcher Hillary Barker got a ground ball to end the frame.
Momentum would shift quickly in the top of the fifth, as the Big Green tallied four runs to race out to an 8-2 cushion. Hubert scored Ramirez with a double to right, Molly Khalil drove home a run with a sacrifice fly and Barker helped herself with a two-run home run to left-center field.
Snodgrass would continue her hot hitting in the bottom half, as she lined a double into the gap in right-center field to drive home Bergeron, who had reached on a single to lead off the inning, to make the score 8-3. The two teams traded runs in the sixth to account for the final margin. Sophomore Christie Taylor drove home Columbia's run with an RBI single to right.
First-year Prophet Gaspard suffered the loss in the circle but did strike out six Big Green batters over her four innings of work.
Columbia returns to Ivy League action on Sunday, April 3 with a doubleheader against Harvard. First pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.