BASEBALL WINS IVY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP

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Lions celebrate the 2008 Ivy League championship (photo courtesy of Gil Talbot)
Courtesy: The Ivy League/Gil Talbot
HANOVER, N.H. - The Lions won the Ivy League Baseball Championship after defeating the Big Green 7-5 in the deciding game of the best-of-three series at Red Rolfe Field.

In 1977, Columbia was co-Ivy League champion with Cornell. This will mark Columbia's first NCAA appearance since 1976.

"Being able to fight back and tie yesterday's second game and coming back again today is a credit to our guys being confident and not afraid to lose," head coach Brett Boretti said after the game.

"It was a tough series with two evenly-matched teams," Boretti continued. "The level of play is continuing to rise across the Ivy League, and hopefully we can do our best to represent the league well in the regionals."

A double play to end the game gave Columbia Baseball its first Ivy League title in 31 years. The Lions rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the sixth inning for the victory.

With two outs and two on in the sixth, first-year Alex Ferrera blasted a three-run home run to right center to reclaim the lead for Columbia, 6-5.

Columbia led 3-0 after four and a half innings of play.

After a scoreless first inning of play, Mike Roberts blasted a solo shot over the left field wall to get Columbia on the board.

In the top of the fifth, Alex Ferrera had a solo shot of his own to left field to make it 2-0. Nick Cox singled and eventually scored when Henry Perkins had a line drive down the third base line to score Cox and make it 3-0.

The Big Green exploded for five runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 5-3 lead going into the sixth, off a two and three run home run.

It was then that Columbia reclaimed its lead off the three run shot by Ferrera, his second home run of the day.

"I was just glad I could put the team ahead and make a contribution," said Ferrara. "I was hoping it was enough to win. Hank [Perkins] did a great job to finish it for us."

The Big Green looked to threaten in the bottom of the sixth. With two on and no outs, Perkins moved from second base to the mound. The right-hander struck out his first batter before walking the next to load the bases. The Lions worked out of the jam on another strike out by Perkins and a ground out to Chris Meininger to hold on to its 6-5 lead.

Perkins was not done. With one out, the senior co-captain blasted his third home run of the season over the left field wall to give Columbia a 7-5 lead.

"It's a great feeling," Perkins said after the game. "For us to come full circle after four years and to finish on top of the league is fantastic."

Dan Bracey picked up the win for the Lions while Perkins picked up his first save, going four innings and striking out three. Offensively, Ferrera went 3-for-4 on the day including two home runs and four RBI. Perkins and Mike Roberts each went 2-for-4.

"What's special about this team is that it's always been different guys and a number of guys contributing," Boretti explained. "Our effort has been a constant and that spreads throughout the team."

The Lions now wait for the NCAA Baseball Tournament selection show which airs on ESPN on Monday, May 26 at 12:30 p.m. Regional play takes place from May 30 – June 2 at sites TBD.
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