NEW YORK — The Columbia softball team begins Ivy League South Division play this Saturday and Sunday with a four-game series against Cornell. First pitch for both day’s doubleheaders at the Columbia Softball Stadium is 12:30 p.m.
Columbia (14-18, 5-3 Ivy) improved to a perfect 8-0 at home with a pair of five-inning victories on Thursday over Saint Peter’s. Junior Madison Gott highlighted the day by going 5 for 7 at the plate with her her 19th career home run, breaking the program’s career record. The Lions have won nine in a row on their home field dating back to the final game of last season, and are three victories shy of tying the program record of 12 straight from 2014.
More importantly, Columbia is tied for second in the Ivy League South Division standings, just one game behind Princeton (6-2 Ivy). The Tigers play a four-game series against Penn (5-3 Ivy) this weekend in Philadelphia.
Cornell (7-18, 1-7 Ivy) sits last in the division, five games behind Princeton and four behind the Lions and Quakers. The Big Red put an end to an eight-game losing streak on Thursday by splitting a home doubleheader against MAAC leader Siena. Cornell is 1-10 in true road games, where they have been outscored 78-36.
When asked if this is the biggest weekend of the season for her team, head coach Jennifer Teague replied, “Absolutely.” She went on to say, “If we don’t come out of this weekend 3-1, we’ve got an uphill fight. In my mind, we should, at the very least, split against Princeton and Penn. We’re pretty evenly matched – it can go either way – but not coming out of this weekend with three wins will force us to do some sweeping over the final two weekends.”
All four games will be available on the Ivy League Digital Network. Live stats can be accessed by visiting GoColumbiaLions.com. Fans can also keep up with the action by following the Columbia softball team on Twitter, @CULionsSoftball.NEWS/NOTES
IVY LEAGUE STANDINGS (South)
LAST TIME OUT
Columbia outscored Saint Peter’s 21-5 to pick up a pair of non-conference victories on Thursday. Both games were decided in five innings. The Lions scored a season-high 12 runs on a season-high 14 hits in game one, including a 3-for-3, three-run game from rookie outfielder Amber Swinarski. Gott’s record-breaking home run was a three-run blast to put the Lions on top in game two, while rookie pitcher Erin Gallo held the Peacocks to just a run on four hits.
FEELIN’ RIGHT AT HOME
The Lions opened the home schedule on March 24 with a two-game sweep over Monmouth and have proceeded to win each of their first eight at Columbia Softball Stadium. It marks the team’s longest home winning streak since 2014, when the Lions set the program record for consecutive home victories by rolling off their first 12. The 2014 team completed the year 15-6 (.714) at home, also posting program marks for home wins and winning percentage.
GOTT BREAKS HOME RUN RECORD
Junior Madison Gott hit her 19th career home run on Thursday against Saint Peter’s to become the Columbia softball program’s new career record holder. The former record belonged to Maggie Johnson ‘11CC, who hit 18 from 2007-11. Gott’s record-breaking homer came in the second inning of game two, crushing a 1-2 pitch out to center to give the Lions a 4-1 lead. She is three home runs away from cracking the top 20 in Ivy League history.
The Big Red snapped an eight-game losing streak by scoring 12 runs, including seven to walk-off in the bottom of the sixth, to defeat Siena, 12-3, in game one of Thursday doubleheader in Ithaca. Cornell started 0-3 in the Ivy League, but avoided a winless opening weekend by defeating Brown, 4-3. Three of their Ivy League losses have come by one run.
Junior Megan Murray leads the team with a .363 batting average, .416 on-base percentage, 29 hits, seven doubles and 15 runs scored. Junior Tori Togashi (.309) and sophomore Olivia Lam (.304) are also hitting above .300. Freshman Bridgette Rooney is tied with Columbia’s Madison Gott and Sommer Grzybek with seven home runs to lead the Ivy League. Rooney hit two in Thursday’s, 12-3, victory over Siena. In the circle, junior Maddie Orcutt (2-6) leads the team with a 4.88 ERA. Freshman Lisa Nelson (4-3) has seen the most work, boasting a 5.93 ERA in 59 innings pitched. Nelson has recorded a team-high 38 strikeouts. Cornell is hitting .274 with a 6.36 team ERA.
Cornell leads the all-time series, 36-18, but it has been played to an even 8-8 split over the last four seasons. Columbia’s last series victory came in 2014, taking three of four games in Ithaca.
- Junior Madison Gott is riding a six-game hitting streak. She is hitting .600 (12 for 20) and slugging 1.100 along the way with two home runs, four doubles, eight runs scored and 10 RBIs. The hitting streak is Gott’s third of the season of at least six games.
- First-year Sommer Grzybek is hitting .409 with two home runs, three doubles, four runs scored and eight RBIs over her last eight games.
- Junior Olivia Parker has hit in five straight games and is hitting .500 through those contests.
- First-year Amber Swinarski is hitting .444 (8 for 18) with eight runs scored over her last six games.
Thirteen of Columbia’s 32 games have either been decided by one run or gone to extra innings. The Lions hold a 6-7 record in such games, earning three victories in sweeps over Harvard and Dartmouth.
Columbia leads the Ivy League with 24 home runs. The Lions rank No. 71 in the NCAA at 0.75 home runs per game. First-year Sommer Grzybek and junior Madison Gott lead the way with an Ivy League-best seven long balls apiece. Gott also leads the Ancient Eight with 10 doubles, 42 hits and 73 total bases. She is second in slugging (.723), second in RBIs (25) and third in batting average (.416). Grzybek is second in the Ivy League in total bases (63) and third in RBIs (23).
ROOKIES IN THE CIRCLE
Rookies Madison Canby and Erin Gallo have combined to start each of the last 18 games in the circle, and have started 24 of the 32 games this season. Canby (9-7) has done the bulk of the work, making 17 starts and combining for 99 2-3 innings pitched in 25 appearances. Canby’s 25 appearances, nine wins and 17 starts lead the Ivy League, while her 99 2-3 innings pitched rank second.
IVY LEAGUE WEEKLY AWARD WINNERS
Player of the Week – March 20 – Sommer Grzybek
Rookie of the Week – March 20 – Sommer Grzybek
Rookie of the Week – March 27 – Madison Canby
Rookie of the Week – April 3 – Sommer Grzybek, Madison Canby
Pitcher of the Week – April 3 – Madison Canby
IVY LEAGUE WEEKLY HONOR ROLL
February 27 – Bonnie Schipper, Tonia Wu
March 6 – Tonia Wu, Madison Gott, Madison Canby
March 13 – Madison Gott, Olivia Parker
March 20 – Madison Gott, Bonnie Schipper, Erin Gallo
March 27 – Kerry Cook, Olivia Parker
April 3 – Taylor Troutt
April 10 – Madison Gott, Sommer Grzybek