Featured (Slider) Sports

Monmouth softball falls just short in non-conference game vs. Columbia

In an extraordinarily competitive game, the Monmouth Hawks narrowly lost to the Columbia Lions in the seventh inning, as Savanna Messner’s stellar performance and single-RBI secured the Lions seventh win on the year.

On Mar. 27, the Monmouth Hawks Softball Team traveled up to the Riverdale section of the Bronx to face the Ivy-League Columbia Lions, who had a 7-14 record coming into the game and are 2-1 within conference play. The Hawks went into this matchup having won four of their last five, which included a double-header sweep on Mar. 22 against CAA-rival Hofstra and a walk off-win from the bat of first baseman #27 Devin Coia.

The Hawks began to get their offense going in the top of the second inning, as outfielder #33 Tessa Thompson hit a double against Columbia pitcher Lily McCord and got the Hawks their second hit of the game. Coia proceeded to hit a single during the next at-bat, driving in Thompson home for the RBI and putting the Hawks on the board first. However, the Hawks could not add to their lead as designated hitter #20 Lexi Castaneda grounded out to second base and ended the top half of the frame.

Monmouth’s lead would unfortunately only hold up until the bottom half of the third inning, where Columbia would go on to score three runs in four innings. It started with a home run hit to left field courtesy of Columbia third baseman Savanna Messner, followed by a double from right fielder Eleni Katsivalis two at-bats later. First baseman Sarah Mikami then hammered to left-center field, driving in two RBI’s to add to Columbia’s lead. Senior pitcher Kait Mulcahey then came in for relief of starting pitcher Ana Rodriguez and finished the bottom half of the third, with the Hawks now down 3-1 at this point.

Monmouth’s offense stalled and could not get the bats going in the fourth and fifth innings of the game. The lone hit between these two innings came from sophomore right fielder #10 Savannah Simons out of Kapaa, Hawaii, as she singled up the middle and advanced baserunner # 3 Dani Dabrowski to second base after she got on base due to a walk. However, the Hawks were unable to bring in any runs following this. While she was pitching, Mulcahey allowed zero hits or runners on base during the fourth and fifth innings, and her performance helped keep the Hawks within striking distance as they entered the sixth.
When the Hawks came up to bat in the top half of the sixth, center fielder #30 Kiley O’Rourke from Irvine, California, was able to get on first base due to a hit-by-pitch. Catcher #35 Abby Warner from Toms River, New Jersey, doubled up the middle the next at-bat and O’Rourke went from first to third. After Raquel Reyes came into relief pitch for Columbia, the bases loaded with Coia advancing to first on a walk.

With Castaneda once again stepping up at the plate, she was able to hit a single through the right side of the infield, bringing O’Rourke in to score and bringing the Hawks one run closer to the Lions. Dabrowski was once again able to advance to first on a walk, and Warner scored the second run of the inning and tied the game 3-3.

Throughout the rest of the game into the final frame of the seventh, both Columbia and Monmouth’s defenses were able to hold on and keep their respective teams in the game thanks to the pitching efforts from Reyes and Mulcahey. When the Lions came up to bat in the bottom of the seventh, junior Caroline Palys successfully came in to pinch hit for Lions designated hitter Georgia Corey, and hit a single through to right field. The Lions next two batters would commit the first two outs of the inning, but not before Palys was able to get to second base and in scoring position.

With only one out remaining in the bottom of the seventh, Messner once again came up to the plate for the Lions, already having a home run in the game. In a very competitive at-bat, she was able to hit another single for the Lions, bringing home Palys to score and earning the Lions their seventh win on the year. Despite an outstanding pitching performance from Mulcahey, the Lions were able to break through against her stellar pitching and get a walk-off win for the second game in a row.

As the Hawks look to get back to their winning ways, they will travel to Buies Creek, N.C. to meet Campbell in a CAA series on Mar. 29-30, followed by a non-conference game with Lehigh on Wednesday, Apr. 3 in Easton, PA.