Softball Closes Season With Comeback Victory Over Penn
PHILADELPHIA -- Down 5-0 in the top of the sixth inning, the Columbia softball team scored six runs to take the lead and added three more in the top of the seventh en route to a season-ending 9-5 win over Penn on Saturday afternoon. Sophomore Jennifer Bergeron drove in five of those runs, with the final three coming on a three-run home run in the seventh. The Lions fell in the first game, 6-3, and close out the season 17-29, 7-13 in the Ivy League.
Looking for a four-game sweep of the Lions, Penn came out and scored a run in the first, a pair in the third and two more in the fifth to take a 5-0 lead. Brooke Coloma, Alisha Prystowsky, Jessica Melendez, Kelsey Wolfe and Stephanie Caso each had RBI hits for the Quakers.
Columbia's offense was the polar opposite of its opponent, as Penn starter Tory Satagaj and reliever Mikenzie Voves retired the first 15 batters they faced and had a combined perfect game going as the contest moved to the top of the sixth.
After a strikeout of the first batter by Voves extended the streak to 16, senior Karen Tulig jumped on the first pitch she saw and ripped a single down the left-field line to break up both the perfect game and the no-hitter. First-year Emily Caruthers stepped the plate next and hit a grounder to second base that Sam Erosa couldn't come up with to put two runners on with one out.
The next three Columbia batters would reach base, as first-year Emily Snodgrass drove in Tulig with a single to begin the comeback. First-year Morgan Cook kept things going as she was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Bergeron continued the charge with a two-run single right back through the box to make the score 5-3.
The hit chased Voves from the circle and brought in Cailyn Hennessy. The change in pitcher was effective at first, as Hennessy retired the first batter she faced to put two away. But back-to-back base hits by seniors Maggie Johnson and Stephanie Yagi allowed Columbia to come all the way back to take the lead at 6-5.
First-year Prophet Gaspard came out of the bullpen after the Quakers put a pair on with nobody out in the bottom of the sixth. Gaspard came up big by getting out of the jam with a foul out and two strikeouts.
With Columbia clinging to a one-run lead entering the final inning, Tulig began the frame with her second hit of the contest -- a double down the left-field line. Caruthers followed with a bunt single to put runners on the corners and the Lions in business to put some insurance runs on the board.
Hennessy made it difficult, as she got consecutive pop ups to put two away for Bergeron. On the first pitch she saw, the sophomore shortstop belted her second home run of the season to give Columbia some breathing room at 9-5. Gaspard took over from there, striking out the first two Quaker batters in the seventh before inducing a foul out to Tulig at second to end the game.
Junior Jessica Rakonza picked up her first victory of the season, going five innings and allowing five runs while striking out one.
The Quakers got on the scoreboard without registering a hit in the opening inning, as a pair of walks and two wild pitches allowed Alisha Prystowsky to come around to score and put the home team ahead 1-0.
It wouldn't take long for the Lions to gain back that run, as Johnson blasted her sixth home run of the season to lead off the top of the second and tie the contest at 1-1.
After a scoreless third, Columbia took a brief lead in the fourth. Skylis walked to lead off, advanced to third on a pair of ground balls and scored on a single from her classmate Tulig.
But Penn would respond with three runs in the bottom half to regain an advantage. Kelsey Wolfe and Justine Payne belted back-to-back RBI doubles in the inning to help the Quakers to a 4-2 cushion.
The Lions would halve their deficit in their next at bat, as Snodgrass led off with a double to right center and came home on a single from Skylis. Penn returned the favor with two additional runs in the bottom half to account for the final margin of victory.