With all fans focusing on Columbia’s season-ending series against Penn this weekend, the Lions swept a doubleheader against Fordham yesterday afternoon. The two wins improve the Light Blue to an impressive 22-18 on the season. While Columbia secured a comfortable victory in game one, late inning heroics and a dash of help from the opposing bullpen led the Lions to a big win against the Rams in game two.
Fordham struck first in game one as Brian Kownacki singled and was brought home on an RBI base hit by Chris Walker. However, the Lions knotted the score in the third as Alex Ferrera reached first after third baseman Ryan Maghini botched a ground ball. Jon Eisen’s two-out single to left plated Ferrera. The Light Blue broke the tie two innings later as the first three batters reached base to load the bases for Billy Rumpke. Rumpke hit into a fielder’s choice and Bobby O’Brien was called out on his way home. However, Dario Pizzano scored on a Kevin Roberts’ sacrifice fly and Jason Banos cranked a three-RBI double to right to put Columbia ahead 5-1.
The Rams tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth to inch within two runs of the Lions, but Pizzano’s solo blast in the bottom frame of the inning extended the lead to three. Harrison Slutsky earned his second win of the season in Columbia’s 6-3 victory. Slutsky allowed four hits and three runs while striking out seven over his five and two-thirds innings of work. James Stone was charged with the loss for Fordham for surrendering four runs on three hits over four and two-thirds innings.
The Lions used seven pitchers in the rematch game en route to a come-from-behind 5-4 victory. Junior southpaw Max Lautmann took the hill for Columbia in the first and promptly served up a two-run round-tripper to Ryan McCrann to give Fordham an early lead. The Lions responded against Ram starter John Flanagan with back-to-back hits by Nick Crucet and Nick Cox to plate one run. The Light Blue threatened to score more in the frame but left two men stranded on the bags.
Columbia tied the game at two runs apiece in the top of the third as Rumpke singled and advanced to third on a throwing error. Designated hitter Eric Williams got the job done by bringing home Rumpke on a sacrifice fly to left.
Reliever Clay Bartlett took the mound in the fourth, marking Columbia’s third pitching change of the game. The Rams broke the tie and then some with two runs on an RBI triple and groundout to give Fordham a 4-2 lead. With their backs against the wall in the bottom half of the ninth, the Lions bats finally came alive. Alex Black laced an RBI double to left to plate Williams off Fordham reliever Joseph Charest.
Charest then gave up a single to Anthony Potter that advanced Black to third. Potter advanced to second on a wild pitch before Charest struck out Alex Godshall. However, Charest threw yet another wild pitch, allowing Black to trot home from third to tie the game. Nick Crucet hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Potter to give Columbia the 5-4 victory and the doubleheader sweep.
Eric Williams improved his record to 3-0 for Columbia while Charest was charged with his second loss of the year. With the Lions entering their last and most important weekend of Ivy play against Penn, yesterday’s sweep against the Rams provided just the momentum the club needed.
Columbia will compete with Penn in doubleheader matchups on both Friday and Saturday, with the first pitch of game one set for noon.