TUCSON, Ariz. - The Columbia baseball team was tied with No. 16 Arizona midway through the seventh but the Wildcats used strong bullpen relief and rallied with two runs in the bottom of the frame to ultimately outduel the Lions 7-5 in the rubber match of the three-game set on Sunday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field.
Aaron Silbar led the way offensively for Columbia (1-6), going 2-for-4 with one double on the day. Silbar was the only Lion to notch a hit past the fourth inning after the Wildcats' bullpen duo of Tyger Talley and Mathew Troupe shutout Columbia over the final five frames.
The Lions carried momentum from yesterday's upset of the defending national champion Wildcats by storming out with a three-run first inning. Jordan Serena got things started with a leadoff double and quickly scored as Nick Crucet singled and reached second on a third base throwing error. Eric Williams then drew a walk, and Nick Ferraresi attempted a sacrifice bunt and reached base due to a throwing error by Arizona starting pitcher Cody Moffett. The error also advanced Williams and Crucet to second and third, allowing Crucet to score as Alex Black hit a sacrifice fly RBI to left field. Logan Boyher then sent Williams to the plate with another sacrifice fly to put the Lions ahead, 3-0.
The Wildcats mirrored Columbia's efforts in the bottom of the frame with three runs of their own to knot the score, 3-all. The score remained even until the third inning, when Columbia regained the lead.
Ferraresi reached base and advanced to second thanks to another throwing error by Arizona's third baseman, Brandon Dixon. Black then singled up the middle to send Ferraresi home and make it 4-3, Columbia in front.
The Wildcats took their first lead with two runs in the bottom of the third to make it 5-4, but the Lions continued to fight and tacked on another run in the fourth. David Vandercook cranked a leadoff triple into right field and eventually scored on a wild pitch to knot the score, 5-5.
Arizona's damaging two-run rally came in the seventh, beginning with a single by Trent Gilbert. Columbia reliever Thomas Crispi then walked Ryan Koziol, putting runners on at first and second. Joseph Maggi singled into right field to score Gilbert and give the Wildcats the lead. Kevin Roy then came in to relieve Crispi and walked his first batter, David Real, hence loading the bases. A wild pitch sent Koziol to the plate for the final blow before Roy ended the inning with a strikeout.
The road swing continues as the Lions head down to sunny Florida for this year's spring break trip, which will feature a set of six contests. The Lions will first play four games at University of Central Florida in Orlando from March 15-18 before heading south to Miami for two matchups against the Hurricanes on March 19-20.