Baseball will travel to Tampa, Florida to take on South Florida in a four-game series this weekend.
The Lions (0-4) continue to challenge themselves in non-conference play, as USF (4-4) finished last season 42-19 and was eventually eliminated in the regional round of the NCAA tournament.
The Lions’ pitching staff—which struggled last weekend, giving up 45 runs over four games—could face a challenge against a powerful USF lineup that has four players with a slugging percentage over .500. Columbia will look for sophomore starting pitcher Jordan Chriss to provide another start this weekend, after he only allowed two runs in four and two-thirds innings.
Head coach Brett Boretti, who used several pitchers last weekend, intends to do the same this weekend, as he looks to find arms on which he can rely in conference play. So far, the Lions’ pitching staff has struggled. But tough, non-conference play represents a great opportunity for the Lions’ young pitchers to test their arms against top competition.
The Light Blue’s lineup is comprised of last year’s Ivy League player of the year, senior third basemen Randell Kanemaru, and Ivy League rookie of the year—now sophomore outfielder—Julian Bury. With the help of these and other players, the team will look to prove itself on a national level after a weak showing against UNLV last weekend.
The Lions will look to lean on last year’s first-team first-year All-American sophomore catcher/designated hitter Liam McGill against USF. McGill picked up where he left off last season going 7-for-13 with a home run in the series against UNLV.
This weekend’s matchup against USF continues the trend of the Lions challenging themselves in non-conference. In recent years, Columbia has posted below-average overall records but stellar in-conference performance; Boretti and company will hope that this year proves to be no exception to that pattern.
The Light Blue will begin its series against USF on Friday night at 7 p.m., followed by a double header with games at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, with its final game on Sunday at 1 p.m.