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NEW YORK — Princeton came away with a 7-6 win over the Columbia baseball team in the rubber game of a three-game series Sunday afternoon. The Lions (14-23, 9-6) held a three-run lead, but the Tigers (10-17, 7-5) scored five runs, all with two outs in the seventh inning, to take the lead and held off Columbia’s ninth-inning rally.
The Lions stranded 15 baserunners and at least one in every inning. Princeton also left 11 men on and there was just 1-2-3 inning combined in the game (top of the fifth). Both teams had 15 hits in the contest.
Harrisen Egly provided 5.2 innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts, but did not factor into the decision.
Princeton’s leadoff man Chris Davis beat out an infield single to first base to start the seventh, but reliever Leo Pollack retired the next two batters before Conor Nolan extended the inning with a base hit through the right side. After a pitching change, Joseph Flynn singled to cut the deficit to 4-2. The next batter was hit by a pitch and Max West punched a base hit through the hole between first and second to even things up. David Harding made it 6-4 in favor of the Tigers with a double off the wall in center.
With the Tigers batting through the lineup, Davis notched a leadoff double and scored for the third time when Nolan hit a grounder to a diving Chanlder Bengtson moving toward second. Bengtson’s flip to the bag was a tad behind Nolan, allowing the seventh Princeton run to come across.
Columbia’s top of the order had a chance in the eighth and loaded the bases off of singles from Randell Kanemaru and Bengtson, sandwiched around a hit batter. With one out, the Tigers’ Tanner Kliewer escaped the jam by getting a double play ball that Joe Engel nearly beat out with some hustle down the line to first.
In the ninth, Matt Cerfolio started the comeback with a one-out single. Lane Robinette was plunked and Griffin Williams doubled off the chain-link fence in center to make it 7-5 and put the tying run in scoring position. Julian Bury drove in Cerfolio with a ground ball that Jake Boone gloved moving towards third to make it a one-run game. With no play at first and one run already in, he caught Williams rounding the bag at third, leading to a rundown and putout at the plate for the second out. Princeton opted to intentionally walk Kanemaru with an open base. The Lions nearly stole the game when Liam McGill skied a high pop up to shallow right. Harding had trouble finding it through the sun, initially gloved it, then bobbled it, but recovered before the ball hit the turf to end the game.
Columbia’s fortunes worked out better in the top of the first when they took advantage of an error and the centerfielder losing a ball in the bright sky for an RBI double for Bengtson. Engel made it 2-0 with an opposite field single to right to plate Kanemaru.
Jesper Horstad’s RBI single in the third pulled the Tigers within one, but the Lions put two on the board in the bottom of the inning, using a bases loaded walk and sacrifice fly.
Bengtson finished 3-for-5. Engel went 2-for-5 and now has a 20-game on-base streak.
The Lions are slated for a road matchup with Army West Point Tuesday, April 24. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.