NEW YORK - Exceptional pitching from starters David Speer and George Thanopoulos led the Columbia baseball team to a pair of 4-0 victories against the visiting Brown Bears Monday at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium. The Lions improve to 8-12 overall and start the Ivy League season 2-0.
Speer went the full seven innings in game one, allowing just three hits while sitting down seven to pick up his second win of the year, while Thanopoulos went eight frames and gave up just two hits and struck out nine to set the Lions up for their third straight 4-0 victory.
GAME ONE RECAP
Senior David Speer earned his second win of the season in his second complete game, shutting down Brown’s offense with a three-hit performance that he accentuated with seven strikeouts and no walks, leading Columbia to a 4-0 shutout in game one Monday.
Robb Paller, who was 2-for-2, plated what would go down as the game-winning run in the fifth with a sacrifice fly to right field. Columbia added three runs in the sixth, with the bats of Mike Fischer, David Vandercook and Will Savage accounting for the RBI.
The first 4.5 innings proved to be a pitcher’s duel between Speer and Brown’s Anthony Galan. The only scoring chance through that portion of the game came in the bottom of the fourth when Columbia was able to put runners on second and third, but with two outs Galan was able to get a strikeout to end the threat.
The Lions broke through in the fifth though. Columbia loaded the bases with no outs, as Vandercook and Savage singled and Jordan Serena was hit by a pitch. Brown was able to get the innings’ first out on a fielder’s choice at home in the next at bat, but Paller finally plated Savage with a short fly ball to right field. Will Marcal made a nice throw to the plate from right field, but Savage used a swift head-first slide to avoid the tag at the plate, giving the Lions a 1-0 lead.
Columbia tacked on three unearned tallies in the following frame. With one down, Gus Craig reached on a fielding error by Brown’s J.J. Franco at second base. Fischer stood in next and laced a triple to the right center gap to bring home Craig. Vandercook came up next, knocking a sacrifice fly to right to score Fischer. Savage made it three straight runs for the Lions when his rip to deep right cleared the outfielder’s outstretched glove and bounced off the wall, providing ample time for the speedy rookie to race home with an inside the park home run.
Speer closed out the win with two groundouts and a strikeout looking in the top of the seventh.
GAME TWO RECAP
Sophomore George Thanopoulos secured his first career win in Ivy League action, tossing an impressive two-hitter over eight innings in the Lions’ third straight 4-0 victory.
Thanopoulos, who entered the game with six strikeouts on the year, sat down nine Bears before giving way to Mike Weisman in the ninth. Weisman faced three batters, recording outs against each to cap the sweep.
At the plate, Vandercook posted two RBI to bring his season tally to nine, while designated hitter Logan Boyher was the only player from either squad with multiple hits, going 3-for-3 and scoring once.
Boyher got things going in the second frame with a single to right on a 1-0 pitch. Craig followed with a double to deep centerfield, advancing Boyher to third. Two batters later, Vandercook blasted a double off the top of the right field wall to bring home both of his teammates.
Brown was able to put a pair of runners on base in the top of the third, but Thanopoulos shut the door on that threat with a strikeout of Franco. That out served as the first of 15 straight hitters that Thanopoulos sent back to the visiting dugout, six of which went down via strikeout. Of those six K’s, four Brown batters looked at strike three.
Brown starter Christian Taugner also settled in after the second frame, not allowing a Columbia run over the next five innings before being relieved prior to the eighth inning by Austin French.
It took only three batters for the Lions to get to French, as Serena drove home Savage with a triple down to right field. Aaron Silbar pushed Serena across the plate with a single in the next at bat, making it 4-0 advantage for Columbia with Weisman coming on in the ninth to close it out.
Columbia is back at it on Tuesday when Yale visits Robertson Field at Satow Stadium for a doubleheader beginning at noon. The Bulldogs dropped a pair of games at Penn Monday by scores of 6-1 and 11-9.