The Red (11-23, 4-11 Ivy) was tasked with tackling its Empire State rival Columbia (16-19, 11-7 Ivy) in its own concrete jungle home. Cornell last visited home of the Lions in April 2019 and was swept in that three-game bout.
Cornell gained an early lead at the top of the first inning of the first game this past Saturday. After freshman infielder/outfielder Sydney Stapf drew a base on balls, sophomore infielder Emma Antich in the following at-bat smashed a two-run four-bagger that soared past left-center field.
A sac fly in the bottom of the first allowed Columbia to reduce Cornell’s lead, but the Red retaliated in the top of the second when freshman outfielder Kate Callaway hit an RBI single that drove junior infielder Lilly Travieso home and advanced freshman infielder Ella Harrod to second base and senior infielder Maicie Levitt to third base. With three baserunners, Cornell was given an opportunity to extend its two-run lead, but Columbia fielding made sure to withhold the visitors via a foul out and a groundout.
After a scoreless top of the third, the Lions’ cleanup hitter slapped a groundout that advanced the baserunner from third to home plate. Another scoreless inning from the Red because of two consecutive flyouts paired with a strikeout gave Columbia the momentum when the nine-hole hitter hit a run-scoring single to equalize in the bottom of the fourth.
With neither team conceding a run for three consecutive innings, the first game required extra innings to determine a possible victor. In the top of the eighth inning, an Anitch single gave Cornell its first hit since the top of the fifth, which came in the form of an Antich double. However, the three next at-bats witnessed two back-to-back pop-ups and a groundout, leaving Antich the sole runner left on base.
The Lions gave Cornell its first loss of the series when a two-run home run was sent past center-field and ended the game, 5-3. This was the first Cornell-Columbia softball game that went into extra innings since April 2018.
Similar to the first game, Cornell drew first blood when an RBI single from Travieso drove senior catcher Celia Macari back to the dish in the top of the second. In the next inning, Antich ripped her second two-run dinger that Saturday, which sent herself and Callaway on second base back home. With six home runs this season, Antich is now tied for the third-most in the Ivy League behind freshman catcher/infielder Lauren Holt and Yale’s Lauren Perren, who have eight apiece.
The Lions returned the compliment in the bottom of the fourth when an RBI groundout and a three-run home run gave Columbia a 4-3 lead. A sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth and another home run in the bottom of the sixth sufficed in giving the Lions its second comeback victory of the day and of the series with a final scoreline of 6-3.
On Sunday, Cornell — for the first time in the series — was unable to establish the lead first. The Lions ambushed the Red in the bottom of the first with a run-scoring single. The subsequent at-bat then witnessed a three-run round-tripper. A two-run home run immediately followed up by a solo shot in the bottom of the third expanded the scoreline to 7-0. The Lions tallied two more runs in the bottom of the fourth via an RBI single and a sacrifice fly.
With a nine-run deficit, the Red was challenged with accruing two or more runs to prevent the run-ahead rule from being put into effect. Unfortunately for Cornell, the top of the fifth saw the Lions complete the shutout against the Red, which gave Columbia a 9-0 victory. This result is the biggest loss and fourth shutout loss of the season so far.
Cornell will continue Ivy League competition against the University of Pennsylvania at home starting with a doubleheader on Friday at 11 a.m. and on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Niemand-Robison Field. Both games will be streamed on ESPN+.