On Separation Sunday—the first Sunday of Ivy League play, when most teams are tired after the season-opening doubleheader—the baseball team wasn’t able to get the win in the first game, losing 4-3 to Brown (3-15, 1-1 Ivy). But the Lions (9-14, 3-1 Ivy) fought the rain and cold on the shores of the Harlem River and came back strong in the nightcap, beating the Bears 14-6.
In game one, the Lions got off to a good start, drawing first blood when sophomore shortstop Aaron Silbar grounded into a double play that scored a run. The slim 1-0 Columbia lead only lasted until the top of the fourth, when junior starting pitcher Stefan Olson gave up a two-run home run to senior first baseman Mike DiBiase and a solo shot to freshman right fielder Will Marcal to give the Bears a 3-1 lead.
Despite those two home runs, head coach Brett Boretti was pleased with Olson’s start.
“He did a good job, all around,” Boretti said. “The first game, we didn’t have any freebies—no errors, no walks, no hit batters. That’s definitely what we try to preach to them, and he did a good job with that.”
But even with several chances, the Lions were never able to tie the score. After senior center fielder Billy Rumpke’s sacrifice fly in the fifth made the score 3-2, junior Dario Pizzano nearly drove the ball out of the ballpark, but had to settle for a double when the ball bounced high off the left-center field wall.
Another chance for the Lions to tie the game at three came in the bottom of the sixth, as freshman second baseman Jordan Serena walked with one out and advanced to second on a Silbar groundout. Pinch hitter Eric Williams drove the ball hard into center field, but an impressive catch by Brown junior center fielder John Sheridan ended the threat.
The Bears got an insurance run in the top of the seventh for a 4-2 lead, ensuring that Pizzano’s subsequent RBI double in the bottom of the seventh was not of consequence.
Although the Lions had runners at first and third with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Brown sophomore starting pitcher Anthony Galan was able to force senior Alex Aurrichio to ground out to second for the final out of the seven-inning contest.
The second game of the day yielded a much better result for the Lions, who have now won six of their last seven games.
Although junior starting pitcher Tim Giel struggled slightly with his command, bouncing a few balls in the dirt, he was able to get through four innings while giving up three earned runs.
But the Lions’ bats had his back, as the Light Blue scored three runs each in the third, fifth, sixth, and eighth innings and tacked on two more in the seventh for good measure.
Small ball was a key weapon for the Lions, as Brown proved to have a hard time defending the bunt. In the bottom of the third, sophomore catcher Mike Fischer laid down a sacrifice bunt. Brown junior pitcher Kevin Carlow picked up the ball and launched a poor throw to first, but everyone was safe. The Lions scored three runs that inning on an RBI single from senior third baseman Jon Eisen and a sacrifice fly each from junior right fielder Nick Ferraresi and Pizzano.
Other highlights in the 14-6 drubbing included Williams’ and Aurrichio’s home runs out to right field and Eisen’s five runs. With one single, one double, one hit by pitch, and three walks on the afternoon, Eisen reached base in all six of his plate appearances.
“I’m just trying to get on base every time,” Eisen said. “I was just glad that I could get on for the guys behind me.”
But when talking about Separation Sunday, Pizzano put it best.
“Separation Sunday is a huge motto for us,” he said. “That’s when everyone’s tired, it’s a long weekend and—especially with weather like this all weekend, where it’s raining out—we just want to bear down. The other team definitely doesn’t want to be there anymore, we feel, so we’re going to take advantage of that and come out on top.”
With three wins in four games, that’s exactly what the Lions did.
Correction: An earlier version of the article stated that starting pitcher Tim Giel gave up five earned runs, rather than three. Spectator regrets the error.