Softball Takes Back-And-Forth Affair From Cornell, 6-4
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

NEW YORK -- Senior Stephanie Yagi drove home the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth inning, helping to cap the Columbia softball team's come-from-behind 6-4 victory over Cornell on Monday afternoon at Baker Athletics Complex. The Lions (11-24, 3-9 Ivy) trailed 3-0 after one inning and 4-3 after four, but responded each time as they split the four-game series with the Ivy League South-leading Big Red (18-18-1, 7-5 Ivy) over the weekend.

Cornell got on the board with three unearned runs in the first. Marissa Amiraian and Jenny Edwards recorded back-to-back singles to lead off the game and, after a strikeout of Erin Keene by starting pitcher Maggie Johnson, Erin Towne reached on an error and advanced to second while Amiraian scored to make it 1-0.

A single from Christina Villalon and a double by Ali Tomlinson drove home Edwards and Towne to give the Big Red a 3-0 cushion before the Lions had taken their first cuts.

After a scoreless bottom half of the first and top of the second, Johnson helped herself to lead off the second with an opposite-field liner that just cleared the right-field wall for a home run. It was the third home run in the series for the senior, and improved her career-record total to 18.

With the score now 3-1, Johnson worked around a leadoff single from Towne in the third before the Lions scored a pair in the bottom of the inning to knot the contest. First-year Emily Caruthers got things started with a base hit to center, and classmate Morgan Cook followed two batters later with a one-out double that put a pair in scoring position.

Sophomore Jennifer Bergeron drove home Caruthers on a groundout, and senior Anne Marie Skylis came through with a big two-out single up the middle to drive in Cook. The ensuing batter, Johnson, singled sharply to left and both Skylis and Johnson advanced on an error by the left fielder as Columbia threatened for more. But Cornell's Elizabeth Dalrymple got a groundout to end the chance.

Cornell responded with a single run in the fourth, coming via a sacrifice fly from Edwards to drive home Morgan Cawley, to give the visitors a 4-3 lead.

The advantage would hold up until the fifth, when the Lions churned out a pair of runs on four hits. Snodgrass led things off in style, driving a Dalrymple offering over the left-field fence for her first career home run to tie the game again at 4-4.

Bergeron would start another rally two batters later with a single to right, then Johnson walked with two away to set the stage for Yagi. The senior right fielder wasted no time once she stepped into the batter's box, ripping the first pitch she saw right through the box and into center field for the go-ahead score.

Columbia again threatened to add more as sophomore Christie Taylor hit a hard grounder to short for an infield single, but Dalrymple bore down once again to keep the Lions from adding more.

The one-run cushion would be more than enough for first-year Prophet Gaspard, who baffled Cornell hitters after coming out of the bullpen in the fourth. Gaspard retired all 11 batters she faced over 3.2 innings of work, striking out three in the process. On the weekend, she held the Big Red to a .119 batting average over 17.2 innings, and set down the final 19 batters she faced over Sunday and Monday. The right-hander finished with a 2-1 record and a 0.40 ERA against Cornell this season.

Cook gave the Lions an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, as she scored Caruthers with an RBi single up the middle. From there, Gaspard did the rest by tackling the Cornell top of the order and getting them 1-2-3 to close things out.

Columbia returns to action on Thursday, April 21 with a non-conference doubleheader at Rider.