NEW ORLEANS, La. — The Columbia baseball team overcame a three-run deficit in the ninth inning, but Tulane’s Paul Gozzo hit a walk-off single to lift the Green Wave to an 8-7 victory Sunday. The Lions fell to 1-11 on the season.
Three of the first four Green Wave batters reached, via leadoff walk and two singles, to load the bases in the bottom of the first. Sal Gozzo delivered a two-run single through the right side to give Tulane the early 2-0 advantage.
Columbia played small ball in the third to get on the board in the third. Ben Porter was issued a free pass and Randell Kanemaru reached on an error. After a sacrifice bunt, Porter took off on contact on a grounder to third and scored after the throw home was high enough to prevent the catcher from making a tag. The Lions evened things up on a fielder’s choice by Lane Robinette, who was fast enough to beat the relay to first to keep the inning going.
Chandler Bengtson continued to swing a hot bat, fighting off a 1-2 pitch and taking it the other way to give the Lions a 3-2 lead.
Tulane leapfrogged Columbia in the fifth. Hunter Williams dropped in a single to score Grant Witherspoon, who lead the inning off with a hit and moved to second after a wild pitch. After a walk and sacrifice, Dan Harrington came on and got a shallow fly ball and induced a ground ball that should have ended the inning. However, the ball was not fielded cleanly to allow the Green Wave to reclaim the lead, 4-3.
In the top of the sixth, the Lions drew even again when Shane Adams registered a two-out double and scored after a pair of wild pitches, but the Green Wave answered in the bottom half of the frame. Williams notched a two-run homer, giving his club a 6-4 lead. Tulane tacked on another insurance run on a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
After retiring six batters in a row, the Green Wave’s bullpen ran into trouble in the top of the ninth. Porter and Kyle Bartelman reached on singles and Liam McGill doubled down the rightfield line to cut the deficit to two. The next three batters drew walks, allowing Columbia to tie the game.
Tulane was the beneficiary of two walks to begin the ninth. The Green Wave pushed the runners to second and third with a sacrifice and forced the Lions to intentionally walk the next batter to set up a force play. Gozzo lined a single into leftfield to end the game.
Harrisen Egly (0-3) was the pitcher of record after facing six batters in one inning of relief. Porter was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Bengtson drove in two runs and has nine RBI in his last two games.
Randell Kanemaru’s hitting streak ended at 12 games, but drew a pair of walks to keep his streak of reaching base alive.
Williams drove in three runs and finished 3-for-4. Kody Hoese went 3-for-3 with a pair of runs. Grant Witherspoon earned the win, despite allowing all three runs in the top of the ninth.
Columbia begins a four-game series at Penn State this Friday, March 24. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.