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Logan Boyher
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

Gehrig Division Action Begins Against Princeton for Baseball

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 04/11/2014
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GAME NOTES 

ABOUT THE MATCHUPS
When Columbia and Princeton take the field Saturday at noon, it will be the 217th meeting in the history of the series. Princeton holds a 124-90-2 all-time advantage, but Columbia has won six of the last eight meetings over the last two seasons.

COLUMBIA’S STATUS
The Lions kept themselves in the hunt for the competitive Gehrig Division title, going 3-1 last weekend at Dartmouth and Harvard. Columbia has won four straight games entering this weekend after knocking off Rutgers on the road, 13-2, Wednesday.

PRINCETON’S STATUS
The Tigers enter the weekend on a three-game losing skid after being swept by Yale on Sunday, April 6 and then dropping a midweek game to Monmouth at home, 3-0.

ABOUT THE LIONS
Columbia is in the midst of a four-game winning streak that can be attributed to its offense coming alive. Following a 5-4 defeat of Yale on Saturday, April 5, the Lions have scored 12, 8 and 13 runs in its next three victories. The wins included a doubleheader sweep of Harvard and a 13-2 throttling of Rutgers, all on the road.

Infielders Will Savage and David Vandercook have been the catalysts for the offensive explosion of late for the Lions. Savage has earned the two most recent Ivy League Rookie of the Year, batting a team-leading .444, scoring nine times and driving in six runs. He has also shown his prowess on the base paths, swiping five bases.

Vandercook has been equally impressive, providing the middle of the Lions’ lineup with a power bat. His .407 batting average over the last nine games has been buoyed by four doubles and two homers, driving in 12 runs. He’s also been patient at the dish, earning four walks.

As the offense has racked up 38 runs in the last four games, the Lions’ pitching staff has been just as instrumental in the recent success, giving up just 10 runs. George Thanopoulos remains unbeaten at 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA, the best among the Lions rotation. David Speer leads the team with 29 strikeouts in 42 innings of work, posting a 2-2 record.

The bullpen continues to shutdown opposing hitters when called upon. Zack Tax has thrown 14.1 innings and has two saves to go with a stellar 1.88 ERA. Thomas Crispi has earned two wins in relief this season, tossing 20.1 and striking out 22 batters to lead all relievers.

ABOUT THE TIGERS
Following a sweep of Brown on April 5, Princeton has dropped its last three contests, including a pair of losses to Yale. On Thursday, April 10, the Tigers were shut out at home by Monmouth, 3-0.

Alec Keller brings a team-best .347 batting average and 33 hits into the weekend. Keller also shows flashes of speed, recording a team-leading three triples and is tied for the team-high with five steals. Also hitting over .300 for the Tigers is Danny Baer (.344), Zack Belski (.324) and Danny Hoy (.309). Paul Tupper is the run-generator for the Tigers, knocking 15 RBI to lead the team.

On the hill, Michael Fagan and Chad Powers each carry 3-1 records, but Fagan has been the Tigers’ ace this season. The senior has racked up 38 strikeouts in 29 innings, posting team-lows in ERA (2.48) and batting average against (.204). Keelan Smithers and Cameron Mingo make up the other half of the Tigers’ rotation, with ERAs of 6.37 and 3.63, respectively.

Jonathan York has filled the closer role this season, earning four saves in 10 appearances. 

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