HOUSTON HILTON PLAZA INVITATIONAL
FEB. 21-23, 2014
|Feb. 21||vs. North Dakota State||3 p.m.||LIVE STATS|
|at Houston||8 p.m.||VIDEO (Subsciption Required) | LIVE STATS|
|Feb. 22||vs. Nicholls State||12:30 p.m.||LIVE STATS|
|at Houston||5:30 p.m.||VIDEO (Subscription Required | LIVE STATS|
|vs. Feb. 23||vs. North Dakota State||10 a.m.||LIVE STATS|
The Lions are set to kick off the 2014 with five games at the Houston Classic. Columbia is coming off a 22-26 campaign to go with an 8-12 mark in Ivy League play. Both win totals are the best for the program since the 2007 campaign. The Lions return five positional starters and both primary pitchers to go with a group of talented first-years.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE’S STATUS
The Bison are coming off a 1-4 week at the Florida State Renegade Classic, defeating Southern Miss before dropping three games to No. 13 Florida State and the finale against Southern Miss. NDSU is paced offensively by Alex Sobrero, who is hitting .448 with 13 hits in 29 at bats. She has six RBI, one homer and three doubles and is a perfect 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts. The Bison are led in the circle by Krista Menke, who has a 1.99 ERA in 31.2 innings of work, allowing nine earned runs while striking out 29 and walking 16. She is 3-1 overall with three complete games and two shutouts.
The Cougars posted a 5-1 record in their season-opening weekend. Houston outscored its opponents 44-19, defeating Sam Houston State twice, Army twice and Stephen F. Austin once. Their only defeat was a 4-1 decision to Nebraska. Selena Hernandez leads the Cougar bats with a .476 batting average to go with two homers and 10 RBI. Six other players have gone deep for Houston, who has 10 long balls in the young season. Diedre Outon is the squad’s primary hurler, and is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA and six strikeouts in 17 innings of work.
NICHOLLS STATE’S STATUS
The Colonels have won three of their last four after beginning the season 1-6. Nicholls State most recently posted a home-and-home series sweep (9-0, 5-1) of Southern earlier this week. Brittany Marcet has been the team’s top-hitter thus far, compiling a .471 batting average with three dingers and 11 RBI. Jackie Johnson has seen the most action in the circle, tossing 37 innings with a 2-5 record, 1.70 ERA and 34 K’s.
ABOUT THE MATCHUPS
Columbia has never faced its three opponents at the Houston Classic.
COLUMBIA IN SEASON OPENERS
The Lions are 5-9 all-time in season openers. The last time Columbia won its first game of the season was in 2012 after a 5-4 victory over Louisiana Tech.
THE “GRASS” IS GREENER
The lone senior on this year’s squad, Emily Snodgrass was one of the Lions’ top offensive threat last year, hitting .308 and leading the team with six homers and 29 RBI. Snodgrass earned All-Ivy League Honorable Mention after ranking among the league leaders in most batting categories
Junior Alix Cook reached base safely in 44-of-48 games in 2013 to secure a spot on the All-Ivy League Second Team. She struck out just four times in 160 at bats to rank as the nation’s fifth toughest batter to fan with one strike out per 40 at bats. In 2012, she was 14th in the nation in that category.
Sophomore Emily Kenyon made an immediate impact in her rookie campaign, posting a 2.70 ERA with 10 wins and 146 strikeouts, the most of any first year in program history and the third highest single-season total. For her efforts, she is one of four returning Lions to achieve All-Ivy League status.
Not to be outdone, junior starting pitcher Brooke Darling is also coming off a breakout season in 2012. Darling threw 128.2 innings with 10 victories and a team-best 2.61 ERA.
Junior third baseman Alix Cook is joined by her sister, first-year Kerry, on the squad this season. Alix has been a two-year starter for the Lions and Kerry is a versatile utiltiy player that should see plenty of action this season.