PHILADELPHIA – Friday started off well for the Lions, extending its program-record win streak to 15 games, behind a 6-0 shutout performance from starting pitcher David Speer, but Penn finally snapped the streak with a 12-4 victory in game two.
The split sends Columbia and Penn back to New York with matching 14-4 Ivy League records, meaning a Saturday sweep will be required for one squad to capture the Gehrig Division title. First pitch at 12:30 p.m. at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium will be preceded by a Senior Day ceremony honor Columbia’s five seniors.
GAME ONE RECAP
Senior left-hander David Speer quieted a powerful Penn offense earning his second straight shutout, as Columbia topped the Quakers, 6-0, in game one Friday at Meiklejohn Stadium.
Gus Craig tallied three hits, part of a seven-hit day, driving in a run and scoring twice to pace a Columbia offense that racked up 10 hits against Penn’s Connor Cuff. The Penn ace had not allowed more than two runs in any start this season, but the Lions racked up six (two earned) in the victory.
Speer improved to 5-2 on the year and now has 53 strikeouts after sitting down seven batters.
Columbia attacked Cuff early on, loading the bases with the first three batters. Jordan Serena led off with a single back up the middle, while Will Savage was grazed by a pitched and David Vandercook walked. Clean-up hitter Robb Paller then blooped a ball high in the air to shallow left field that Ryan Mincher dropped, allowing Serena to score.
The Lions added another tally in the second frame on a Will Savage single up the middle. Craig scored from second on the play following his double down the right field line. Speer established his dominance on the hill, striking out a pair in the bottom of the second.
An error proved costly for the Quakers in the third, as the Lions scored three unearned runs to fully take control of the game. A sacrifice bunt by Silbar was mishandled at first by Penn’s second baseman covering the bag, leading to the continuation of the inning with just one out. Mike Fisher plated the first run for Columbia on a sacrifice fly to center that Craig followed with an RBI single to center. Joey Falcone drove in the final run of the frame when his rip down the right field line landed fair and Craig scored from first.
Paller added the final run for Columbia in the sixth, sending a pitch back up the middle to score Serena.
The win improved the Lions win streak to 15 games and gave them sole possession of the Gehrig Division.
GAME TWO RECAP
Columbia’s historic 15-game win streak came to an end as Penn’s offense came alive to take a 12-4 decision against Columbia. The win evened the standings in the Gehrig Division, with Penn and Columbia both holding 14-4 conference records.
Columbia got on the board first, as Craig’s fourth hit of the day scored Silbar in the top of the second. Silbar led off the inning with a single to center and scored on Craig’s single through the left side.
Penn fired back with its first three runs of the day to take the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Michael Vilardo earned the Quakers’ first RBI, driving home Jeff McGarry on a ground out to second base. Matt McKinnon came up next, slapping a single through the right side to bring in Matt Greskoff. Three hitters later, lead-off man Brandon Engelhardt knocked a single to right to plate McKinnon.
The Quakers’ lead was short-lived though, as Columbia fired back with two runs in the top of third. With Paller and Silbar on first and second with two outs, Nick Maguire hit a long drive to the right field warning track that Greskoff dropped, allowing both Columbia base runners to score one after the other just steps apart.
Penn shifted the score back in its favor in the bottom of the third, as McKinnon singled to left field, bringing home Vilardo for the go-ahead run.
The bottom of the fourth saw Penn grab control of the game, scoring five runs, all with two outs and all unearned, to go up 9-3. Greskoff accounted for the first three RBI with a bases-clearing doubles to deep center, while McKinnon’s single to the middle of the outfield scored two more runs.
Columbia regained one run on yet another Craig RBI single, but Penn added three more to its total in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to 12-4, a lead it would maintain for the remainder of the game.