LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – The Columbia softball team split a doubleheader at Rider on Sunday afternoon. The Lions (2-5) picked up a wild 7-6 victory in a game one that featured eight total errors before being edged 4-3 in the nightcap by the Broncs (2-11).
Sophomore Kayla Shimoda went a perfect 5-for-5 from the plate in both games to lead Columbia’s offensive attack. Sophomore Alix Cook had a hit in each game, and has reached base safely in all of the Lions’ seven games this season.
Columbia will head to Kissimmee, Fla. later this week to begin a 10-game slate at the Rebel Games. The Lions open the tournament on Friday, March 15 with contests against Wagner and Lehigh.
Columbia 7, Rider 6
First-year Macy Shrum’s three-run homer, the first of her career, in the fifth inning proved to be the difference for the Lions (2-4).
Shimoda used her speed to almost single handedly help the Lions open the scoring in the second, reaching on a leadoff single and moving to second after an overthrow by Rider’s catcher on a pickoff attempt. The sophomore advanced to third on a ground out before crossing home on a wild pitch to give Columbia a 1-0 edge.
The Lions put a three-spot on the board in the third, adding an insurance run on a squeeze play executed by Emily Snodgrass with a nice bunt to score Emily Caruthers. A dropped fly ball and a sacrifice bunt set the table for Liz Caggiano, who ripped a two-run double to push the margin to 4-0.
In the bottom half of the frame, Rider recorded back-to-back hits and drew a base on balls to load the bases with no outs. Starting pitcher Emily Kenyon retired Heather Muscara via foul out, but a dropped pop up allowed the Broncs to get on the board. Kenyon minimized the damage by fanning the next two batters, keeping it a three-run ballgame.
Rider pulled within 4-3 after an Allysen Breeden two-run blast in the fourth and Dana Sensi reached on a double to continue the rally with no outs. Columbia turned to Brooke Darling out of the bullpen to stop the bleeding. Darling got her first player to ground out, but Sensi advanced to third on the play and came around to score on a sacrifice fly to tie the score.
The Lions used a two-out rally to quickly regain the advantage in the top of the fifth. Shimoda and Caggiano were in the middle of things again, posting two consecutive singles leading up to Shrum’s dinger, the first for any Columbia player this year.
Two more defensive miscues by Columbia allowed the Broncs to plate one run in the sixth, and continued to apply pressure in the bottom of the seventh.
Another dropped pop up, a single and a throwing error on a sacrifice attempt loaded the bases with no outs for Rider. The Broncs made it a one-run game on a fielder’s choice where the Lions opted to get the force out at third base. Rider had the bases juiced again after a runner beat out a throw, but Shrum came up with a grounder at short and fired home to get the force out and prevent the tying run from scoring.
Darling then put the final touches on the win by inducing a fly out to left center.
Shimoda went 3-for-3 with a stolen base and Emily Caruthers was 2-for-3 with a swipe.
Darling improved to 2-1 on the year, giving up two runs (zero earned) on two hits in four innings of relief. Kenyon struck out seven in just three innings.
Columbia 3, Rider 4
Shimoda gave the Lions a quick 1-0 lead with an RBI double to left-centerfield in the top of the first inning, but Rider had the answer in the bottom half of the frame.
A leadoff walk and stolen base led to a Sensi single to tie the game at 1-1. Two more singles loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly plated the go-ahead run.
In the second, a pair of Columbia errors led to Rider adding to its lead. Kehli Washington reached with two outs on a ground ball that starting pitcher Kalli Schultea could not field cleanly and the Broncs took a 3-1 lead after Breeden singled and a misplay by Mackensy Lakian in left brought in Washington.
The Lions filled the bases in the fifth inning with just one out and closed within one on a sacrifice fly by Morgan Cook. However, Emily Snodgrass was thrown out at third trying to advance on the play as well, ending hopes for a bigger inning.
The Broncs regained the two-run advantage in the sixth inning with an RBI knock from Amanda Irving, but Columbia refused to go quietly.
Caruthers started the seventh with a base-knock and Alix Cook reached on an infield error. A filled the bases with Lions, and Shimoda made it 4-3 with an infield single to short. However, Krista Morrone retired the next two batters to hold off Columbia.
Schultea pitched four innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits, and took the decision.
Shimoda went 2-for-2 with the two RBI.