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QUEENS, N.Y. — The Columbia baseball team sent 10 batters to the plate in a six-run first inning, highlighted by a grand slam by Chandler Bengtson to propel them to a 7-4 upset over No. 4 St. John’s. The Lions (6-15) had to hold off four unanswered from the Red Storm (21-3) to win their sixth straight against the Johnnie’s.
Columbia’s first three hitters reached on hits, capped by a Randell Kanemaru RBI single. Liam McGill was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Lane Robinette’s cue-shot in the hole on the right side of the infield could not be fielded cleanly to bring in the second run of the frame. That sent Bengtson to the plate, who launched a 2-2 pitch into the Lions’ bullpen to push the advantage to 6-0.
The grand slam was the second of the season for the sophomore and his third long-ball on the year. He now has a team-best 15 RBI with just six hits.
Red Storm pitching issued four consecutive walks to start the top of the second, allowing Ben Porter to touch home. St. John’s limited the damage by getting a double play when catcher Robert Boselli III picked up a check-swing dribbler in front of the plate, touched home and fired to first.
In the fifth, the Lions had two away before some mistakes in the field caused two runs to score for St. John’s. Jamie Galazin singled and the relay throw was way off the mark, allowing both runners to advance a base. The next hitter grounded one towards second base and a desperation throw wound up in the dirt, bringing in both base runners to cut the lead down to 7-2.
The Red Storm added another run in the sixth, again with two outs. With runners on the corners, Josh Shaw roped a base hit into left to make it a four-run contest. A sliding catch from Shane Adams in left-center prevented St. John’s from getting any closer.
In the bottom of the ninth, the leadoff man reached on a hit followed by a free-pass. With two strikes on him, Kyle Cunningham just missed hitting a three-run homer when his long fly ball hooked foul down the leftfield line. Two pitches later, Zack Bahm induced a huge 6-4-3 double play. Despite a two-out RBI single by Galazin, the Lions held on by getting a pop out to secure the victory.
McGill extended on base streak to 17 games, but his 10-game hitting streak was snapped.
Columbia returns to Ivy League action this weekend when they travel to Yale for a doubleheader set for Saturday, April 8. First pitch of game one is set for 12 p.m.