by STEPHEN ZUBRYCKY, Senior Writer
In a battle for softball primacy on the No. 1 subway line, the Manhattan College Jaspers came up short against the Columbia University Lions (of the 116th Street station) at Gaelic Park Wednesday afternoon, losing 6-3 as the Jaspers’ fortunes went south in the final inning.
Fresh off back to back wins in a double header against the Morgan State University Bears, the Jaspers entered the game 11-15. The Lions entered the game 12-12 after taking 2 of 3 games from Princeton University Tigers in the team’s previous series.
The Jaspers started the afternoon strong, with freshman Jessie Rising’s pitching holding Columbia scoreless in the first five innings.
Manhattan was able to get three runners on base in the bottom of the first inning, with a ground rule double to right from junior Christine Gebhardt allowing junior Adrianna Gambino to score the game’s first run.
Neither team put any runs on the board in the second and third innings.
In the top of the fourth, a line drive off the bat of Lions infielder Abby Stuart nearly hit Rising in the face, but fortunately for the Jaspers, Rising was able to catch the ball and make the play at first to bring Manhattan back to the plate.
The Jaspers’ bats would be hot in the bottom of the fourth. The Jaspers’ second batter, junior Morgan Sgarlata, doubled to deep left and stole third off a flyout to right from freshman Megan Gillooley. A homer to left from Victoria Alonso would then bring Sgarlata home and put the Jaspers up 3-0.
The Lions fired back in the top of the fifth, closing the gap to 3-2 with a home run from sophomore Maria Pagane.
From then on, it was all Lions.
Columbia quickly loaded the bases in the top of the seventh. A single from infielder Max Ortega’s bat brought one Lion home. Then, Jasper relief pitcher Kayla McDermott walked in a fourth Columbia run. Finally, Stuart doubled to deep center, adding two more runs to the Lions’ tally before Manhattan was able to stop the bleeding and get one final crack at it.
The Jaspers attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, with Gambino doubling down the left field line and sophomore Daniela Chiorazzi singling to right.
But ultimately, the Jaspers would not have enough to recover. With Chiorazzi on first and Gambino on third, Gebhardt, who would have been the tying run, flew out to right to end the game, with the Manhattan Jaspers losing to the Columbia Lions 6-3.
“Jessie rising did a great job pitching yesterday and Victoria Alonso hit a big two run home run which was her first of career,” Head Coach Tom Pardalis wrote in an email.
Manhattan will be on the road for a double header against MAAC rival Fairfield this Saturday. The Jaspers enter the double header 10th place in the MAAC, with an overall record of 11-16 and a conference record of 0-2, after twin losses to the Quinnipiac Bobcats. The Stags are 13-11 on the season and also 0-2 in conference play, after dropping two games against the Marist Red Foxes.
On Sunday, the Jaspers will host the third place Red Foxes for a double header at Gaelic Park with start times of 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.
“Big MAAC weekend and a good chance for us to show some positives and make a statement,” Pardalis wrote. “We have learned a lot in this pre MAAC season and now it is time to apply the lessons.”