Columbia softball splits doubleheader versus Iona

The Columbia softball team split its non-conference doubleheader with Iona yesterday, dropping the first game before storming back to take the second contest.

In game one, the Lions came out on the losing end of a pitchers’ duel, falling to the Gaels 1-0. Freshman pitcher Jessica Rakonza pitched a complete six innings for the Light Blue, allowing just one run on five hits and three walks, while striking out three. Sarah Jackson picked up a win on the opposing side as she shut out the Columbia offense, allowing only four hits in seven innings of work while fanning six batters.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when Iona’s Rachelle Harris—who went 2-for-2 against Rakonza—batted in the winning run. After Chelsea Sheehan reached on a bunt and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Melanie Hay, Harris laced an RBI double to left field. That would prove to be all the Gaels needed to take the first game.

The Lions’ bats finally came to life in the second game, earning the team a 10-2 victory in a shortened game.

This time around, Erica Clauss got the start for Columbia. Clauss earned the win, giving up two runs on nine hits and a walk, while striking out four in six innings.

The Light Blue struck first in the game, putting up four runs in the top of the second inning. After both Kayla Lechler and Jackie Ecker grounded out, Anne Marie Skylis singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Skylis was brought home on a ground-rule double by Stephanie Yagi. Yagi would then be brought around to score on a single by Chantee Dempsey. Two batters later, Dani Pineda walked with the bases loaded to bring in the Light Blue’s third run of the frame. Maggie Johnson singled to knock in the fourth run, but the inning ended when Lechler grounded out for the second time.

Iona’s starter, Deanne Algeo, was relieved by Kassondra Silva at the end of the second inning. Algeo gave up four runs on six hits and a walk in two full innings of work.

Though the Gaels scored in the bottom half of the second, the Lions never relinquished the lead. In fact, the Light Blue tacked on three more runs in the third. Yagi knocked in the first run of the inning with a double, before Karen Tulig brought two runners home on a single.

Columbia proceeded to score one run in each of the last three innings.

Keli Leong, Tulig, Johnson, Yagi, and Dempsey all enjoyed multi-hit games in the second contest. One of Johnson’s hits was a solo homer, bringing her season total to a team-leading five.

The Lions will face one more non-conference opponent before playing their final series of the season against Penn this weekend. Columbia will travel to Lawrenceville, N.J. for a doubleheader against Rider on Thursday.

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