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Softball edged out by Columbia in weekend series

Bears defeat Lions Friday, drop both games in Saturday doubleheader

<p>Elayna Tsiouplis ’22 batted in two walked runners to give the Bears a 2-0 lead in the first inning. </p><p>Courtesy of Tamar Kreitman via Brown Athletics</p>

Elayna Tsiouplis ’22 batted in two walked runners to give the Bears a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Courtesy of Tamar Kreitman via Brown Athletics

Softball (12-21, 4-11 Ivy League) lost a three-game series to Columbia (11-21, 7-8) over the weekend at home, winning the first game of the series Friday and losing both games of a Saturday doubleheader. Despite winning the first game against the Lions 3-2, the Bears lost the first contest in the doubleheader 6-4 and was no-hit by Columbia pitcher Raquel Reyes in the series finale, losing 1-0.

Brown 3, Columbia 2 

Brown’s sole hit of the game came early as the Bears jumped on the board in the first inning when Elayna Tsiouplis ’22 doubled to left-center field, plating two walked runners to give the Bears a 2-0 lead. But Brown’s offense faltered after the quick start and Columbia retired the next 14 batters. 

Starting pitcher Lauren Innerst ’22 kept the Lions scoreless until the fifth inning when a double to right-center field with two outs scored a walked Columbia runner, leaving Brown with a 2-1 lead.

Pitcher Jodie Aguirre ’24 entered the game to relieve Innerst at the start of the sixth inning. With one out, Columbia loaded the bases on a walk, a single through the right side and a single to left field. A fly out to center field allowed the runner on third base to reach home and the other two runners to advance. The score was 2-2 when Brown ended Columbia’s turn at bat with a strikeout and a caught fly ball in left field.

Without earning a hit, Brown took the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Meghan Gormley ’23 entered the game to pinch hit and took advantage of an error by Columbia’s left fielder to reach second base after a nine-pitch battle at the plate, in the process batting in a walked runner to put Brown up 3-2. 

Brown’s scoring was capped there, but it was enough to take the game. The final inning ended with three consecutive Columbia outs. Aguirre struck out the first two batters, and a fly out to center field ended the inning and the game. 

Columbia 6, Brown 4

Brown got on the board first in the second inning, sparked by a triple down the right field line by Brianna Rodriguez ’24. Laurel Moody ’25 then reached first base on an error by Columbia’s second baseman. Next, Julia Gubner ’23 laid down a bunt, reaching first base, scoring Rodriguez and advancing Moody to second base. Nicole Kim ’23 doubled down the left-field line, scoring Moody and advancing Gubner to third. With no outs and two runs scored in the inning, the Bears forced a pitching change. Columbia ended the inning with a strikeout, a throwout at home and a groundout, but Brown came out ahead 2-0. 

Starting pitcher Erin Elgas ’23 kept the Lions off the board until Columbia scored a run at the top of the third on a series of singles that brought a runner home.

Columbia took the lead in the fourth inning after a third base runner scoring on a throwing error on a bunt. Another runner then scored on a fielding error, giving the Lions a 3-2 advantage.

Neither team scored again until the final inning when Columbia added insurance to their lead. With the bases loaded and one out, Columbia scored on a hit-by-pitch. Elgas struck out the next batter, but the following Columbia player sliced a single up the left-field line, plating another run. Aguirre entered the game to relieve Elgas with the bases still loaded, and another single to left field yielded another Columbia run, giving Columbia a 6-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh. 

The Bears rallied in their final turn at-bat but came up short. Moody, Innerst and Vanessa Alexander ’25 loaded the bases for Brown with three singles. With one out already, Gormley grounded out to third base, allowing Innerst to score. Tsiouplis singled through the left side, batting in Moody and cutting the deficit to two runs. With two runners left on base, the game ended with a fly out to center field with Columbia winning 6-4.

Columbia 1, Brown 0

Bruno’s offense was shut down by Columbia’s pitcher Raquel Reyes in the game that decided the series. Aguirre started for Brown and allowed only one run on five hits, striking out three Columbia batters in the process to keep the Bears in the game. Reyes threw a no-hitter, striking out four Brown batters and walking one. 

Columbia scored the game’s only run at the top of the first inning with the bases loaded and two outs. A single to left field plated what ended up being the winning run.

The Bears doubled down on their defensive efforts after the first inning. Brown did not allow a Columbia baserunner in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but ultimately could not overcome Columbia’s skillful pitching to get on board.

The Bears came close to scoring in the fourth inning after landing their first runner on base in the game. Kim walked and threatened to score after stealing second base and advancing to third on a groundout, but Reyes’s third strikeout of the game ended the inning before Kim could reach home. 

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Head Coach Kate Refsnyder praised both teams’ performances on the mound in the final game, highlighting Aguirre’s technique. “She spun the ball well after the first inning and kept them off balance,” Refsnyder said.

Columbia is “always a good hitting team, so we expected them to hit well,” Refsnyder said. “For (Aguirre) to keep them to just one hit is pretty impressive.” Columbia ranks third in the Ivy League in team batting average. 

“I just put everything behind me and pretended like the game was just now starting in the second inning,” Aguirre said, referencing her approach after giving up a run in the first inning. “From then on, I relied a lot on my off-speed pitches, and that seemed to work.”

Aguirre pitched in at least part of all three games in the series and said her mindset is the same regardless of if she enters the game as a starter or reliever. “Whenever you go in to pitch, you have to be ready. There really is no time to just settle in. You have to be ready to go,” she said. “But I also know both times that my team has my back.”

Brown’s outfield was also integral in the Bears’ defense in both Saturday games, Refsnyder said, particularly noting “some really good catches” by Kat Clum ’22. 

Clum attributed her defensive success to working well with her teammates. “There’s a lot of cohesion in the outfield,” Clum said. “There’s just a lot of trust, and when there’s a lot of trust you feel that you can go all out for a ball and know that somebody’s going to be there in case you don’t catch it.”

Since this is her last season competing for the Bears, Clum said she tries to leave it all on the field. “It’s senior year, so why not go all out?” she said.

Although the Bears’ offense stalled in the final game, Clum said she will use the loss as a learning experience. “I’m not going to get a hit every time, but I take something and use it in the next at-bat,” Clum said. “Try to find the positives. Don’t ever let the negatives get to you, because it’s real easy to fail in this sport and you’ve got to embrace it and run with it full speed.”

The Bears will celebrate senior weekend as they take on Harvard in a three-game series this weekend, their final home games of the season. Brown will play a doubleheader Saturday and a single game Sunday. 



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