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Senior third baseman Randell Kanemaru will look to lead the Lions to an Ivy League title as he begins his last Ancient Eight season in Morningside Heights.

Baseball will open Ivy League play this season at home with a three-game series against Yale, the defending Ancient Eight champion.

The Lions (3-15) dropped both of their games against the Bulldogs (3-11) on the road last season but look to fare better in their home-opener this weekend.

Despite posting an unimpressive 3-15 record in nonconference play thus far, the Lions seem well-prepared for their conference schedule as their losses have all been at the hands of high-level programs like UNLV, USF, RICE, and Houston.

The Light Blue is coming off of a 10-game road trip in Texas, in which it notched a 2-8 record. Columbia started off the road trip strong, picking up two wins in as many games against UTSA. Throughout the rest of the road trip, however, the Lions struggled with the bat, posting an average of 3.75 runs per game over the team’s last eight games.

The Lions may not fare any better this weekend, as the Bulldogs rank first in the Ivy League with a collective 5.24 earned run average. But with the help of senior third baseman Randell Kanemaru, sophomore designated hitter Liam McGill, and junior infielder Joe Engel, who have 69 hits between them thus far, the Lions will hope to turn around that trend.

The Light Blue will also look to last season’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year sophomore outfielder Julian Bury for some offensive production. Bury has struggled this season posting a .135 batting average in 74 at bats and a .168 on-base percentage.

Columbia’s pitching staff will look to bounce back this weekend against a Bulldogs lineup that has found difficulties swinging the bat. Yale ranks second to last in the Ivy League in team batting average at .220, on base percentage at .290, and slugging percentage at .307.

Starting pitchers senior Ty Wiest and sophomore Ben Wereski have struggled in nonconference play,posting earned run averages over seven. The Lions will rely on a consistently successful bullpen led by sophomore Dan Harrington and junior Lucas Hall.

This weekend’s matchup against Yale at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium will begin with a double-header on Saturday with games at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and finish on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

anthony.montes@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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