That’s how you get back on track. Yesterday, the Columbia baseball team defeated Rutgers (15-12) at home 12-11, bringing the Lion’s record to 12-12 on the season. The Lions have won nine of their last 10 games, with the one loss coming to Brown this past Sunday. The bats were alive yet again, as the Light Blue collected a solid 14 hits to go along with the double-digit runs.
The game did not start off well, however, as Columbia quickly found itself down a run. Rutgers leadoff hitter Brandon Boykin went yard off Columbia starter Harrison Slutsky on the sixth pitch of the game, to give the Scarlet Knights an early 1-0 lead. After collecting a quick two outs, Rutgers first baseman Jaren Matthews homered to left center to increase the lead to 2-0. In the bottom of the first, Jon Eisen led things off with a single, followed by a fielding error by the left fielder that enabled him to move on to second. After Jason Banos grounded out to first, advancing Eisen to third, Dean Forthun scored Eisen on a liner to left, cutting the lead to 2-1, where it would stay for the rest of the inning.
The top of the second saw more action, as Rutgers third baseman D.J. Anderson scored off a Dan Betteridge single. The half inning could have been much worse for the Lions if it weren’t for some solid defense. After Jarred Jimenez led off the inning with a single, Anderson doubled, sending Jimenez home. However, Columbia center fielder Billy Rumpke relayed the ball to second baseman Alex Godshall, who fired a laser to home, throwing out Jimenez at the plate and saving a run. In the bottom half of the inning, the Light Blue regained the lead, thanks to a combination of walks, hits, and sacrifice groundouts. Columbia scored three runs on two hits by Alex Ferrera and Rumpke, making it a 4-3 ballgame.
The lead would not last long, as Rutgers matched Columbia’s three runs with three of its own. The Scarlet Knights took advantage on two defensive miscues by the Lions, scoring three runs on only one hit, and regained the lead at 6-4. Down, but not out, Columbia retaliated with a bang, as Alexander Aurrichio homered to right on the second pitch of the inning. After a Nick Ferraresi fly out, Dario Pizzano mirrored Aurrichio’s previous at bat, hitting a home run to right and tying the game at 6-6.
In the fourth, Rutgers quickly got a man on base as Anderson worked a seven-pitch walk to start the inning. After stealing second, Betteridge flied to left, advancing Anderson to third. Scarlet Knights catcher Justin Olsen singled to center, scoring Anderson and giving them a 7-6 lead. The bottom half of the inning started off with a solid single by Godshall. After an Eisen strike out, Banos and Forthun singled up the middle. Banos ended up on third on the Forthun single, but Godshall was thrown out at the plate, thanks to a solid throw by Jimenez. That would prove to be only a bump in the road for the Lions. After a walk by Aurrichio, Ferraresi singled, scoring both Banos and Forthun. With Aurrichio on third, Pizzano doubled and picked up the RBI as Ferraresi advanced to third. A wild pitch later in the inning would score Ferraresi, as the Lions ended the inning with four runs on five hits and a 10-7 lead.
The action quieted down until the sixth and seventh innings, as Rutgers collected two in each to squeak past Columbia for the 11-10 lead. In the bottom of the seventh, the Lions roared back, thanks to a Ferrera home run that also scored Pizzano, who had doubled to right the at bat before. The fragile one-run lead would be enough for the Light Blue as Derek Squires was able to pick up his third save in the top of the ninth. Eric Williams got the win, bringing his record to 2-0 on the season. Rutgers reliever Kevin Lillis got the loss.
Columbia will have two days off before it has to travel to Hanover to face last year’s Ivy champ Dartmouth. The double-header will start at noon.