BLACKSBURG, Va. - Down 7-0 early in the game, Columbia rallied to tie the game at 8-8 and came back again to force a 10-10 tie in the fifth inning. However, a nine-run sixth inning helped lift Virginia Tech over the Lions in a 22-10 slugfest at chilly English Field on Monday night.
Steve Domecus got the scoring started when he drove the first pitch Stefan Olson threw over the left field wall in the first inning.
The Hokies would push across two more runs in the first and four unearned runs in the second as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings.
Columbia began to mount its steady comeback with a run in the third. Alex Godshall drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a groundout. Nick Cox then singled sharply through the left side to score Godshall, making it 7-1.
After Virginia Tech's Buddy Sosnoskie homered in the third to regain a seven-run lead for the Hokies, Columbia responded with a seven-run fourth inning that tied the game.
Nick Ferraresi and Dario Pizzano got it started with back-to-back singles. They moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and Dean Forthun drove home both runners with a line-drive double down the left field line.
Godshall scored Forthun on a groundout to make it 8-4 and the Lions kept the rally going with two outs.
Jon Eisen walked and Cox followed by connecting for his first home run of the season, a long drive to left center that got Columbia within two, 8-6.
Jason Banos followed the Cox homer by lining a sharp single into left center, chasing Virginia Tech starter Marc Zecchino from the game.
Joe Parsons came into the game in relief to face Columbia cleanup batter Alexander Aurrichio. Aurrichio laid off some tough pitches and fouled off a tough pitch to get to a 3-2 count. He then launched his second home run of the season, far beyond the trees in center field to tie the game at 8-8.
The Hokies regained the lead with a pair of runs in their half of the fourth and again the Lions came back.
Jake Joyce came on in relief and Forthun greeted him by singling through the left side to score Pizzano, making it a 10-9 game.
Godshall then dropped a beautiful bunt single down the third base line to load the bases with nobody out. The Lions tied up the game when Eisen grounded sharply into a 6-4-3 double play.
Columbia eventually put runners at the corners with two outs with Banos at the plate and the go-ahead run at third. Cox broke for second and Hokie catcher fired the ball to second. Shortstop Tim Smalling cut in front of the throw and fired back to the plate, just in time to get a sliding Dean Forthun for the final out, keeping the game tied at 10.
The score remained tied until the fateful sixth inning, when the Hokies scored nine runs on eight hits. The big blow was a bases-clearing double by Michael Seaborn, which opened up a 15-10 lead for Virginia Tech.
The Hokies eventually led 19-10 after six innings. They scored once in the seventh and twice in the eighth to pad their margin.
Cox, Banos, Aurrichio and Forthun each had two hits for the Lions. Cox and Forthun drove in three runs apiece.
Columbia will now travel to Appalachian State, where the Lions will play a two-game series, starting Tuesday, March 16 at 3 p.m. We will again have a live blog available with fan interaction here at gocolumbialions.com/baseball.
- A number of Lions made their first appearances of the season. Mark Heil and Kevin Roberts each singled in the ninth inning after coming in as defensive substitutes earlier in the game. Zach Epstein pitched two-thirds of an inning without allowing a run and Max Lautmann and Derek Squires also threw an inning apiece.
- Harrison Slutsky was tagged with the loss despite keeping Columbia in the game during the middle innings and he struck out four. Jake Joyce picked up the win for the Hokies.
- The two teams combined to hit seven home runs in the game at English Field, which was played in 40-degree weather and strong winds that were blowing out.
- Columbia pounded out a season-high 16 base hits in the game.
- There were 372 pitches thrown in the game, which lasted three hours and 52 minutes.