Sixth-Run Sixth Inning Helps San Diego Pull Away from Columbia in Series Opener
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - San Diego used a sixth-run sixth inning to pad its lead to 11-3 and ultimately defeated Columbia 14-5 on a cool afternoon at Cunningham Stadium on Thursday.
For the fourth straight game, Columbia scored first. The Lions put their first two runners on base against San Diego ace Calvin Drummond, who walked Jordan Serena to start the game. Serena immediately stole second base and advanced to third on an infield hit by Eric Williams. Dario Pizzano's sacrifice fly plated Serena with the first run of the game.
In the bottom of the inning, San Diego scored three unearned runs after a misplayed fly ball in left field began the inning. Columbia starter Pat Lowery left the bases loaded in the first and did the same in the second inning to keep the Lions in the game.
Columbia tied the game in the second, scoring twice. Billy Rumpke and Gus Craig singled with one out and the Lions scored after an error on a double play ball and an RBI groundout by Mike Fischer to knot the score at 3-3.
Lowery hung up zeroes until the fifth, when San Diego's Louie Lechich doubled with one out and stole third base. Dillon Haupt's RBI groundout scored the go-ahead run and Connor Joe followed with a two-out home run to left field to give San Diego a 5-3 advantage.
The Toreros broke the game open in the sixth inning with six runs on five hits to take an 11-3 lead. The Toreros added two more in the seventh and one in the eighth to move ahead 14-3.
Columbia made it interesting in the ninth inning, scoring twice and loading the bases with one out. Aaron Silbar and Mark Heil each came around to score after consecutive one-out singles and the Lions got to within 14-5 with two outs. Left-hander Jack Shannon came on in relief and notched the final two outs to hold the score there.
Columbia and San Diego will play a doubleheader tomorrow, Friday, March 16 in advance of impending poor weather over the weekend. The first game is scheduled to begin at noon Pacific time at Cunningham Stadium.
Right fielder Gus Craig made an outstanding over-the-shoulder catch in right field to rob Corey LeVier of extra bases to begin the third inning ... Craig also started a 9-3 double play to get a runner at first base after a hit and run in the fourth ... Columbia stole two bases in the game ... the Lions have stolen at least one base in each of the last seven games ... each Torero regular scored a run in the game.