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KJ Mulam / Staff Photographer

Sophomore Ben Wereski pitches 7.1 innings and allows Harvard only one run to help the Lions win the second game of the series.

Baseball won two games this weekend in a three-game series against Harvard. The Lions batted exceptionally on the weekend, combining for an average 7.33 runs per game and a .327 batting average.

Columbia (7-18, Ivy 4-2) entered Saturday’s game looking to spoil Harvard’s (9-13, Ivy 1-2) start to the Ivy season. The Lions were stunned after they dropped the first game to the Crimson 11-6 in front of their home crowd, but they recovered well and won the next two games handily.

“Those guys picked themselves up,” head coach Brett Boretti said about the team’s response following its first loss on Saturday. “I didn’t talk to them till right before the second game. They did a good job of putting one [game] behind them and moving on to the next one.”

Game 1: Harvard 11, Columbia 6

The Light Blue jumped out to an early lead as an RBI double from sophomore designated hitter Liam McGill and singles from senior first baseman Chandler Bengston and junior outfielder Ben Porter put the Lions up 4-0 after the bottom of the first inning.

After coasting through the first three innings, senior right-handed pitcher Ty Wiest ran into trouble in the top of the fourth as Harvard tied the game at four runs per team. Boretti went to his bullpen to start the fifth inning, but sophomore left-handed pitcher Leo Pollack and senior right-handed pitcher Brett Gannaway allowed five runs on just four hits, putting Harvard up 9-4.

The Lions began to rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, but after arguing an infield fly call, Boretti was ejected, and the Lions’ momentum was halted after just one run. The Lions bullpen settled down with the exception of a two-run home run allowed by senior Mark Patrick Flynn, which set Harvard up for an 11-6 victory in game one.

Game 2: Columbia 7, Harvard 1

Columbia, however, would bounce back in game two as sophomore left-handed pitcher Ben Wereski gave the Lions seven and one-third innings with only one earned run and seven strikeouts.

“That’s the Ben Wereski that we want,” Boretti said. “He’s got the ability and he’s got good stuff.”

The Lions also received a resurgence from their offense, as the top of the order, led by senior second baseman Randell Kanemaru, combined to go eight for 17, with four runs batted in and three walks. Kanemaru himself went two for three with a solo home-run to deep left-center field and two runs batted in.

Midway through the eighth inning, the Light Blue turned to senior right-handed pitcher Bryce Barr, who struck out four of the five batters he faced to seal Columbia’s 7-1 victory.

Game 3: Columbia 9, Harvard 6

The Lions again secured an early lead as McGill doubled to deep right-center field, driving in two runs, which was followed by a one-run single by junior shortstop Joe Engel to put the Lions up 6-1 in the bottom of the second inning.

Harvard would fight back, however, as senior right-handed pitcher Harrisen Egly allowed five earned runs in just three innings of work, making the score 6-5 in favor of Columbia as it headed into the bottom of the fourth inning. The Lions would then turn to their bullpen, which allowed only one earned run on two hits in six innings.

After Harvard tied the game at six runs each after the top of the sixth inning, Columbia took the lead for the last time in the game in the bottom of the sixth to finalize the score 9-6.

Ivy league play will continue next Saturday as the Lions travel to New Hampshire to take on Dartmouth, after which the Light Blue will take on St. John’s at home on Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

anthony.montes@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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