BRONX, N.Y. – The Columbia baseball team made the short journey to the Bronx Wednesday evening for a midweek doubleheader on St. Baldrick’s Day. Despite the Rams coming away with a pair of wins, the teams came together after the game to have their heads shaved to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
St. Baldrick’s raises money for children’s cancer research and has been the beneficiary of numerous athletic contests holding events in which the student-athletes and coaches have their heads shaved for donations.
GAME ONE RECAP
After rallying for three runs to take a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh, Columbia allowed a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning to give Fordham a 5-4 victory in the doubleheader opener.
Fordham struck first in the bottom of second inning with a pair of runs. David Judisky reached on a fielder’s choice as the second Fordham batter, and two batters later Ryan Phelan made it two aboard with two outs on an infield single to third base. That brought Rob McCunney to the dish for just his 22nd at bat of the season. The junior delivered with his first hit of the season, a double down the left field line, bringing around both Judisky and Phelan to score.
The Lions responded in the top of the third with a run of their own to cut the deficit in half. Nick Crucet slapped his 30th hit of the season, a single to left field, to give the Lions a base runner with one out. The senior then swiped second to put himself in scoring position. Eric Williams put a short chopper in play between home and the pitcher’s mound that Fordham hurler J.C. Porter fielded, but his throw to first was in the dirt and got past the bag, allowing Williams to reach safely and Crucet to race home.
The Rams came right back in the bottom half of the frame with a single tally to extend the lead back to two runs, 3-1. Tim Swatek led off the inning with Fordham’s second double down the left field line and then moved up to third when Columbia’s attempt to get him out at third on a fielder’s choice play was late. Swatek used his speed to then score on Sam Carreccia’s ground out to first, just beating out Nick Maguire’s throw to plate.
After a scoreless fourth, Columbia threatened in the top of the fifth with Crucet and Williams reaching base safely and then moving up to third and second, respectively, but Porter was able to get Alex Black to ground out and end the Lions’ scoring opportunity.
The Rams would not be so lucky in the top of the seventh as the Lions would rally with a trio of runs to take the lead. Fordham starter Porter was pulled from the game after walking Nick Maguire, in favor of right-hander Brett Kennedy. Kennedy got the first batter he faced to pop out, but then loaded the bases with walks to Crucet and Williams. The Lions then got the clutch hit they were looking for from Alex Black who cranked a single out to left that plated Crucet and Kinne. Joey Falcone recorded his first hit of the game in the next at bat, driving home Williams to give Columbia the 4-3 lead.
Fordham would not go away without a fight though. Phelan led off with a single to left and Stefan Olson, who had come on in relief for Columbia, walked McCunney. Dan Sorine then pinch hit for the Rams, launching a double that bounced over the right center wall to knot the game at 4-4. The Lions made the decision to intentionally walk Swatek and face Joseph Runco. To Columbia’s dismay, Runco was able to earn and walk, forcing home the game-winning run.
Kennedy, despite giving up the three runs, earned his third win of the year to move to 3-2, with Olson taking the loss for Columbia.
Nick Crucet led the Lions’ offense, reaching base safely from the nine-hole, twice on singles and again on a walk, while also scoring twice. Black performed in pretty much every facet of the game, starting as the designated hitter, throwing one scoreless inning and playing first base, all in conjunction with his two-RBI single and a walk.
GAME TWO RECAP
The Rams racked up nine runs on 11 hits and limited Columbia to just one three-run inning to complete the sweep Wednesday night at Houlihan Park. John Kinne led the Lions with a 3-for-3 performance and two RBI, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Rams’ bats.
Fordham opened the game with one tally in the bottom of the first, as Runco scored on a Charles Galiano single through the left side.
The second and third innings passed without change to the Rams’ 1-0 lead, but the Lions shook things up in the top of the fourth. Joey Falcone opened the Lions’ half of the inning with an absolute monster of a home run to right center to tie the game at 1-1. The next two batters for Columbia reached safely, with Ferraresi walking and Aaron Silbar hitting a one-bagger to center. John Kinne then catapulted the Lions to a 3-1 lead when he roped a double down the left field line to score both Ferraresi and Silbar.
The Rams would be able to get out of the inning without any more damage, and also rebounded with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame. Judisky and Ryan McNally would each walk to give Fordham two base runners with one out. Joseph Calabrese then hit a tough bouncer down the third base line that got past Kinne’s glove at third and rolled into shallow left field, giving Judisky the time needed to score from second.
Fordham kept the offensive momentum going in the fifth inning, plating three more runs to retake the lead, 5-3. Swatek and Runco began things with back-to-back singles and then each advanced a base on a wild pitch. A second wild pitch of the at bat allowed Swatek to score and even the game, 3-3. Weisman, the Lions’ second reliever of the contest, looked to be getting out of the inning after the run, as he sat down Galiano and Careccia on strikes, but Judisky stood in and belted a homer to left field to give the Rams a 5-3 advantage.
The scoring continued into the sixth for the Rams, as they added four more runs to their side of the scoreboard. Runco and Galiano each registered a solo RBI, while Jusdisky added two more to his tally to close out the Fordham scoring. Swatek came on in the top of the seventh for the Rams and got the Lions 1-2-3 to close out the 9-3 win.