Softball Edged Twice at Towson Invite
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TOWSON, Md. - The Columbia softball team opened up the 2013 season with a pair of heartbreaking one-run losses on the opening day of the Towson Invitational on Friday.
The Lions fell to Iona, 1-0, despite a brilliant performance by first-year Emily Kenyon in her collegiate debut. Columbia then went toe-to-toe with two-time defending Patriot League Champions, Lehigh, but dropped a 5-4 decision in 10 innings.
The Lions have just one game on the slate on day two of the Towson Invitational, a rematch with the Mountain Hawks at 3 p.m. tomorrow.
Columbia 0, Iona 1
Kenyon earned the tough-luck decision, giving up just one run on four hits with nine strikeouts in six innings of work,
The Gaels lone run came in the bottom of the first inning off a Beth Kann single down the leftfield line to plate Allison Hand.
In the third, a huge defensive play by the Lions prevented Iona from tacking on an insurance run. Kann drew a walk with one out and moved into scoring position after a groundout. Christine Costello singled and the Gaels waved Kann home on the play. Centerfielder Emily Caruthers fired a relay to Kenyon, who in turn flipped it to Liz Caggiano to come up with the final out of the inning end the threat.
Junior Emily Snodgrass went 1-for-3 with a stolen base in the defeat.
Columbia 2, Lehigh 2
The Mountain Hawks struck early in the top of the first and took 1-0 lead on a Liz Lucas RBI single, but Columbia evened the score in the bottom half of the frame.
Alix Cook kicked things off with a single and used her speed to beat out a throw to second base on a ground ball hit by Nicole Borchard. Both runners moved into scoring position on a ground out to third, and Cook came around on a Kayla Shimoda sacrifice fly for the Lions first run of the year.
After the first, starting pitcher Brooke Darling cruised along and retired the next 11 batters she faced until the sixth inning.
Alexis Wantabe reached on a one-out double and moved to third after a groundout. Morgan Decker provided the go-ahead knock to give Lehigh the 2-1 advantage.
Once again, the Lions struck back in the bottom half of the inning. Alix Cook reached on a base on balls and Borchard followed with a clutch triple to the gap in right-center to knot the game.
Columbia had an opportunity in the seventh to end it after a Caggiano double and an infield single by Morgan Cook. However, the Mountain Hawks escaped the jam by forcing a force out and a ground out to extend the game.
With the international tie-breaker rule in effect, Lehigh started the eighth inning with a runner on second base and sacrificed her to third.issued a two-out walk to Morgan Decker and the Lions opted to give an intentional pass to the dangerous Lucas, who was named Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year, to load the bases. The next batter also drew a walk to give the Mountain Hawks the lead, 3-2.
For the third time in the game, Columbia matched Lehigh's scoring output and forced another extra inning after Snodgrass delivered a base-hit to centerfield.
Both teams came through the ninth unscathed, but the Mountain Hawks plated two runs in the 10th to make it, 5-3. Decker walked with one out to put two runners on and Lucas and Christie Waggy recorded back-to-back singles to give their team a two-run cushion.
The Lions refused to go quietly, cutting their deficit in half with an RBI single by Borchard with two outs, but Lehigh's ace, Rebecca Bliss, forced a fly out to right field to end the game.
Darling went the distance, allowing just two earned runs and seven hits in 10 innings of work. Borchard finished 2-for-5 with the two RBI to pace the offense.