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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

Despite Scoring Three Times in the Ninth, Lions' Rally is a Run Short in 11-10 Setback at San Diego

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 03/18/2012
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SAN DIEGO, Calif. - In a wild, see-saw game, Columbia trailed 11-7 heading to the ninth inning, scored three times and had the potential go-ahead run at second base.

Despite allowing three runs in the frame, the nation's saves leader, San Diego closer Michael Wagner, got the final out on a ground ball to nail down an 11-10 victory for the Toreros in the series finale between the two teams.

The Lions jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the top of the fourth inning with some aggressive base running and timely hitting. Enmanuel Cabreja's RBI single got things started for Columbia in the second inning, sparking a three-run second inning.

Billy Rumpke made it 5-0 in the third with a two-run single and Nick Ferraresi's RBI single put the Lions ahead 6-0 in the top of the fourth.

After shutting out the potent San Diego attack over the first three innings, Columbia starter Tim Giel ran into trouble in the fourth. Kris Bryant's two-run homer put the Toreros on the board and San Diego pushed two more runs across to make it a 6-4 game.

With runners at second and third and one out, Giel induced a ground ball to Alex Black at first base for the second out. Black alertly threw to second base when the runner strayed too far from the bag. Shortstop Aaron Silbar then fired home to catch the runner going from third to home for the final out.

San Diego made it a 6-5 game in the fifth but Lion reliever Harrison Slutsky did well to hold the score there and pitched a scoreless sixth inning.

With two outs in the seventh inning, Louie Lechich drove a Joey Gandolfo offering into right center for a game-tying double. The next batter, Bryan Haar singled home Lechich to give San Diego its first lead of the game, 7-6.

Columbia came back in the eighth to tie the game at 7-7. With two outs, Nick Crucet and Dario Pizzano eached drew a walk. Wagner came in to face Ferraresi and Ferraresi grounded an 0-1 fastball back up the middle to score Crucet with the tying run.

Rookie right-hander David Spinosa came on to pitch the eighth and got the first out on a fly ball. The Toreros then put the next two runners on base for Andrew Daniel. Daniel chopped one just over the outstretched glove of Jon Eisen at third base and into left field for a base hit to score the go-ahead run and make it 8-7.

After getting the next out and the first two strikes on Bryant, the count went to 2-2 and Bryant deposited the next pitch over the center field wall for his second home run of the day and his fifth of the series.

Although Wagner was spotted a four-run advantage heading into the ninth, the Lions did not go quietly. Rumpke, who had a four-hit day, bounced one off Wagner's glove for an infield hit to start the rally.

Pinch-hitter Alexander Aurrichio came to the plate and clobbered one into the right-center field gap to plate Rumpke and make it an 11-8 game. Two batters later, the San Diego second baseman and right fielder collided to allow a popup to fall in and put runners at first and second with one out. Jon Eisen came to the plate and drilled one to right field that right fielder Victor Rasor-Thompson had to make a high leap to snag for the second out.

Pinch-hitter Eric Williams kept the line moving with a hard-hit single into right field, scoring a run and making it 11-9. Dario Pizzano followed with a sharp single into left field to cut the deficit to a single run and put the tying run in scoring position.

Ferraresi came through with a single through the hole into left field but the runner had to hold at third base, loading the bases for Alex Black, who had a double and triple to his credit already in the game.

Black worked the count to 2-1 and grounded one back through the middle but second baseman Austin Bailey had it played perfectly and flipped to the shortstop for the final out of the game.

Columbia is back in action on Friday, March 23 in its home opener vs. Stony Brook on Robertson Field at Satow Stadium. The doubleheader will begin at noon.

NOTES:

Ferraresi, Black and Rumpke, Columbia's 4-5-6 batters were a combined 9-for-15 ... Columbia's 16 base hits were two shy of its season high ... the San Diego pitching staff allowed 10 runs for just the second time this season in 23 games ... Wagner entered the game with a 0.98 earned run average and had 10 saves to his credit ... Nick Crucet stole his fifth base of the season and Rumpke stole his fourth ... the game was pushed back an hour after heavy rains fell in San Diego overnight and into the morning ... after starting at 2 p.m. local time, the game was played under mostly sunny skies ... the game ended Columbia's 10-day, 10-game California road trip.

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