ESPN3: Columbia vs. New Mexico Audio: Columbia vs. New Mexico

FULLERTON, Calif. - The Columbia baseball team got another quality start from junior lefty David Speer, but it wasn’t enough, as Cal State Fullerton captured a 4-1 victory in the opener of the 2013 NCAA Baseball Tournament Friday night at Goodwin Field.

The Lions now move on to face New Mexico in the elimination game Saturday at 7 p.m. The Lobos dropped a 4-3 decision to Arizona State in the first game Friday night. Fans can watch a live stream of the game on ESPN3 Saturday.

Speer gave up just three earned runs on five hits, while striking out three in 6.2 innings of work. Kevin Roy came on in relief in the seventh, giving up just one hit and a walk, but kept Fullerton off the scoreboard.

“I thought Dave did a heck of a job on the hill,” said head coach Brett Boretti in the postgame press conference. “He kept them off balance and limited their opportunities when they got runners on.”

The Titans opened up the scoring in the bottom of the first, plating a pair to take a 2-0 lead. Leadoff hitter Richy Pedroza gave Fullerton its first base runner, getting hit by a Speer pitch, then moving up to second on a steal. Two batters later, Matt Chapman drove a pitch back up the middle to center field, brining Pedroza around to score. A wild pitch advanced Chapman up to third where he tagged up on a J.D. Davis sacrifice fly to bring the lead to 2-0.

Columbia responded in the top of the second in the form of David Vandercook’s second home run of the season. With two down, and facing a 2-2 count, Vandercook fouled off three pitches before sending a rocket over the right field wall to cut the deficit in half, 2-1.

Columbia’s defense made a pair of nice plays in the third inning to keep the score at 2-1. Nick Ferraresi made a nice catch in shallow right field, avoiding Nick Crucet who was tracking the ball from second for the second out. Crucet then took his turn, snaring a speedy liner off the bat of Carlos Lopez to end the inning.

A Titans’ homer and a pair of errors in the fourth proved costly for the Lions, as Fullerton posted a pair of runs for the second time to extend its lead to 4-1.  Chapman led off the inning with a deep fly ball that carried over the left field wall for Fullerton’s third tally. Errors extended the inning for the Titans, as Davis came in to score an unearned run.

After a quiet fifth, Fullerton threatened again in the sixth, but stellar defense at the hot corner kept the Titans off the board. Fullerton had runners on the corners with no outs when Vandercook picked a line drive out of the air and then doubled up Michael Lorenzen at first. Columbia’s third baseman came right back during the next at bat to field a tough grounder and throw out Greg Velazquez.

Defense, once again, proved crucial in the eighth inning for the Lions. Junior catcher Mike Fischer recorded the final two outs of the innings, throwing out a pair of base runners attempting to steal. Fischer nailed Michael Lorenzen at third and then closed the inning with a laser to second to get Austin Kingsolver.

The Titans defense was equally as skillful on the night, making a number of tough plays to help lead Fullerton to the 4-1 win. Fullerton’s starting pitcher, Graham Wiest, threw his first complete game of the year, allowing just the one run on three hits.

Columbia and New Mexico will meet for the first time ever Saturday. The Lobos were the Mountain West Conference regular season champions, but fell to San Diego State in the conference title matchup. Saturday will feature Columbia’s Tim Giel against New Mexico’s Sam Wolff, both senior right-handers.

Giel enters the game with a 2.73 ERA and a 3-3 record, while Wolff sports a 3.05 ERA and a 7-3 mark.