Sports | Softball

Softball splits series with Penn in season finale

Softball split its final two doubleheaders of the season against Penn on Friday and Saturday.

The Lions (16-32, 7-13 Ivy) dropped the first game to the Quakers (23-21, 9-11 Ivy) on both Friday and Saturday, but were able to bounce back each time, and closed the season with a dramatic 4-3 walk-off win.

Friday Game 1, 4-1 Penn

In the first game of the series, Columbia’s bats were largely silent in the 4-1 loss.

The Quakers quickly asserted themselves offensively, reaching base on two hits and a walk before senior pitcher Tessa Kroll recorded the first out of the game. Kroll was able to work out of the jam and escape the inning unscathed, but could not do the same in the second inning.

Penn scored three runs in the bottom of the second and added an insurance run in the fourth, which would prove to be more than enough support for junior Alexis Sergeant. Sergeant struck out nine batters in her fourth complete game of the season, boosting her record to 12-7 and lowering her ERA to 2.24.

Columbia scored its only run of the game in the top of the seventh on a solo home run from sophomore second baseman Taylor Troutt, but was unable to draw any closer.

Friday Game 2, 6-0 Columbia

In its final away game of the season, Columbia put together a complete effort to register a 6-0 win.

Sophomore pitcher Maura Lynch silenced the Quaker bats with seven shutout innings, allowing only six hits. Offensively, eight players hit safely, with Troutt and first-year Bonnie Schipper registering two hits each.

After Columbia leapt out to an early three-run lead, Penn threatened in the bottom of the third. But with runners on the corners and one out, first-year Alexandra Yule and sophomore Maddie Gott combined for a double play on a double-steal attempt, ending the inning and keeping the Quakers scoreless.

First-year Jordan Townsend hit a solo home run over the 210-foot wall in the fifth inning, and back-to-back doubles from Troutt and Gott in the top of the seventh provided two additional insurance runs.

Saturday Game 1, 9-2 Penn

The Lions couldn’t hit off of Penn’s pitcher Lauren Li and fell 9-2 in Saturday’s first game. Li struck out only one player, but still held Columbia to only four hits.

The Quakers had no trouble getting hits off Columbia pitcher Tessa Kroll, who, despite six strikeouts, gave up 15 hits over the course of the game.

Penn dominated the game from the beginning, scoring four runs in the first inning. The Lions struggled to field the ball well throughout the game, consistently allowing what could have been easy outs to turn into base hits. Two errors in the bottom of the second allowed another Penn run.

“We just let the errors compound on each other,” head coach Jennifer Teague said.  “And when you have almost more errors than you do hits, it’s going to be a rough game.”

Columbia scored its first run in the bottom of the second after Troutt doubled, then advanced to third on a wild pitch. A groundout to second scored Troutt, but two more ended the inning for the Lions.

The Quakers continued their offensive dominance in the fifth, when a double scored two base runners and a single scored the third run of the inning. Columbia responded with a run in the bottom of the inning thanks to a Lynch single that scored Townsend and prevented the mercy rule from coming into effect, but the Lions were unable to capitalize further. A strikeout from Wong ended the inning and left Lynch stranded on base.

Penn scored one more run in the top of the seventh. Li then retired the Lions to end the game.

Saturday Game 2, 4-3 Columbia

The Lions came back in the afternoon to win their second game 4-3 after two key home runs and several Penn fielding errors in the bottom of the seventh.

After seven and a half innings of play, the game was tied at three with Columbia up to bat. The Lions continued to struggle to hit, registering only six in the game. Two of those came in the last inning, when Schipper singled to the shortstop. Teague put in sophomore Olivia Parker as a pinch runner for Schipper. Alexandra Yule reached first on a fielder’s choice, but a bad throw allowed Parker to advance to second. A sacrifice bunt from Lynch allowed both runners to advance another base, and a single from Wong scored Parker to win the game.

“I just wanted them to put a good bat on the ball,” Teague said.

Columbia’s only other runs came from home runs, one in the bottom of the fourth from right fielder Riley Metzger and a two-run shot from Yule in the bottom of the fifth.

All of Penn’s runs came in the fourth inning, when five singles drove in three runs. Penn had 13 hits on the day, compared to Columbia’s six. But Penn struggled to string them together effectively, leaving 10 runners on base.

The game ends the season on a high note for the Lions.

“It wasn’t pretty, but they stayed in it till the end,” said Teague. “I’m proud of my team for just playing for each other, and honoring the game, and playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

sports@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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