Since his arrival at Columbia in July 2005, Brett Boretti has revitalized the Columbia Baseball program in every aspect, building the Lions into a perennial Ivy League contender.
In his ninth year at the helm, Boretti led Columbia to its most successful season in program history in 2014. A program-record 15-game win streak helped the Lions amass 29 wins, the most ever. Columbia once again captured the Gehrig Division, shutting out Penn in a one-game playoff, 4-0, and then swept Dartmouth for the second straight season in the Ivy League Championship Series to claim the program's 12 conference title and third with Boretti as head coach. The conference title punched Columbia's ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season, traveling this year to Coral Gables, Florida to compete on the national stage.
The 2014 team left its mark on the record books in eight statistical categories, excelling in each facet of the game. At the dish, the Lions racked up 424 hits (sixth), 13 triples (eighth) and 64 stolen bases (sixth). On the mound, the Lions stellar pitching staff posted a 3.36 ERA (fifth), 343 strikeouts (second) and 12 saves (first). Playing some of the cleanest baseball in the nation, Columbia recorded a .975 fielding percentage, the best ever in program history. During the conference-only slate, Columbia led the way with a .279 batting average and 2.51 ERA and tied for the league-lead with a .983 fielding percentage.
Two of Boretti's players in the last seven years have been Ivy League Player of the Year (Henry Perkins, 2008 and Dario Pizzano, 2012), two have been named Pitcher of the Year (Pat Lowery, 2010 and David Speer, 2014) and three have been named Rookie of the Year (Nick Cox, 2008, Dario Pizzano, 2010 and WIll Savage, 2014)). In 2014, Columbia had 11 players selected to All-Ivy League teams, bringing the total of players to receive conference recognition under Boretti's leadership to 59, including 21 first team selections.
Over the course of the last three years four of Boretti's players have been drafted by Major League clubs and another has signed as a free agent. Pizzano and Lowery were selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft and signed professional contracts. The Seattle Mariners selected Pizzano in the 15th round of the MLB Draft and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim chose Lowery in the 21st round. In the 2013 MLB amateur draft, Alex Black was taken in the 29th round by the Kansas City Royals. Following the draft, Tim Giel signed a free agent contract with the New York Yankees. In 2014, Speer was selected in the 27th round by the Cleveland Indians.
The 2013 season set a new standard for the program to build on. Columbia tied what was then the single-season win mark, capturing 28 victories, while setting a new standard for Ivy League wins. The Lions were the gold standard in the Ivy League, winning 16 coference games and then swept Dartmouth in the Ivy League Championship Series for the second Ancient Eight title under Boretti's direction. Statistically, the Lions paced the Ivy League in both batting average (.286) and ERA (1.94) in conference-only games.
Winning the Ivy League Championship ensured Columbia a spot in the NCAA Baseball Championship for the third time in program history. The Lions went on to win their first game ever in NCAA play, toppling New Mexico, 6-5, in 13 innings. On an individual basis, nine players garnered All-Ivy League recognition, including three first team selections, the most since 2010.
The Lions also set new program records in strikeouts (357), saves (12) and fielding percentage (.971). Columbia also swiped 79 bases, the third-highest total in program history.
The 2012 campaign proved to be another strong season for Columbia, winning 20 games for the second time in three seasons and finished with a .600 winning percentage in the Ivy League for the second time during that span.
Reflecting the team's success, six Lions earned All-Ivy honors in 2012, headlined by Pizzano, Lowery and Jon Eisen as first team All-Ivy selections. Alex Black landed a spot on the second team, while Stefan Olson and Nick Ferraresi were honorable mention picks.
In 2011, the Lions began the season at 7-3, including wins over Illinois, Central Michigan, South Alabama (twice) and a two-game sweep of Florida Gulf Coast. It was the best start for a Columbia team in 23 years as the Lions finished the season with the best fielding percentage in program history.
The 2010 season resulted in a number of highlights as the Lions posted the most Division I wins in program history (26) and finished at 26-21, the program's first winning season in 23 years.
Columbia captured the Gehrig Division title after a 14-6 Ivy League regular season and also set a program record for most wins at home with 16 of those 26 victories coming at Robertson Field. In 2010, Columbia's pitching staff led the Ivy League in strikeouts and team earned run average for the first time since that 1987 season and the Lions batted .311 as a team.
The Lions also rattled off an eight-game win streak to start their home slate, the longest since 1987 and the longest win streak against Division I opponents since 1976. For their efforts, Lowery was named the 2010 Ivy League Pitcher of the Year and Pizzano earned Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors.
During Boretti's tenure, Columbia's facilities also have been revitalized, as Robertson Field at Satow Stadium has been transformed into one of the best college baseball facilities in the Ivy League and in the Northeast. In the fall of 2007, the playing surface was rebuilt with FieldTurf™, enabling the Lions to have more outdoor practice opportunities during the offseason.
Prior to coming to Morningside Heights in July 2005 as just the third Lion head coach in 25 years, Boretti was the head coach at Franklin & Marshall College, posting a 116-82 record over five seasons.
Boretti’s junior year was his best, when he led the squad with a .386 average and slugged .705 with 17 doubles and 13 home runs (with just 13 strikeouts) while driving in 48.