NEW YORK – For the second straight season the Columbia baseball team is Ivy League Champions and has punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament. In a rematch of the 2013 Ivy League Championship Series, Dartmouth put up a tough fight all afternoon long, but the Columbia arms and power bats proved too much for the Big Green, posting 6-2 and 4-1 wins to complete the sweep Saturday at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium.
The title is third since 2008, and 12th in the history of the program. This also marks the fourth time Columbia has won the Ivy League Championship in consecutive seasons, having previously won in back-to-back years in 1933-34, 1960-61 and 1976-77. With the Ivy League Championship under its belt, Columbia will now look to the Memorial Day selection show to determine which NCAA Regional it will be headed to for the fourth time in program history.
GAME ONE RECAP
Columbia took an early advantage in the Ivy League Championship Series riding another strong pitching effort from David Speer to a 6-2 victory over Dartmouth. Speer went eight frames, posting seven strikeouts, one walk, while allowing two runs to earn his seventh victory of the year. Mike Concato suffered the loss for Dartmouth, giving up seven hits and four runs in four innings of work.
The heart of the lineup generated the majority of the offense for the Lions, as David Vandercook and Robb Paller each recorded two hits, including a home run, two RBI and scored once. Nick Maguire and John Kinne drove in the other two runs for Columbia.
Dartmouth was able to get on the board in the opening frame, using doubles from Nick Ruppert and Dustin Selzer to take a 1-0 lead. The run was the first Speer had allowed in 23 innings, and he settled in from that point, retiring 10 straight after the run scored with five strikeouts.
Columbia quickly got the run back in the bottom half of the first inning. First-year Will Savage raced up the first base line to earn an infield single and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. David Vandercook then laced a double down the right field line to bring in Savage, evening the game at 1-1.
The second and third frames passed without a tally from either side, but the fourth inning saw the Lions grab control with a trio of runs. The inning started with a bang, as Robb Paller jacked the first pitch he saw over the right field wall. Shortstop Aaron Silbar followed with a double over the centerfielder’s head. Gus Craig reached on an infield single and both Columbia base runners moved up on a balk called on Concato. Maguire recorded his RBI on a sacrifice fly to centerfield, making it a 3-1 Lions’ lead. Kinne closed out the scoring in the inning for Columbia, knocking a hard single out to center, plating Craig.
Dartmouth got a run back in the top of the fifth with Nick Lombardi leading off with a double and scoring on a Matt Parisi ground out to third base.
The long ball got that run back for the Lions in the bottom half of the frame. This time it was Vandercook sending a shot over the right field wall, extending the Lions’ lead to 5-2.
Paller added his second RBI to his stat line in the bottom of the seventh, doubling to bring home Jordan Serena. The Lions carried that 6-2 lead the rest of the way, with George Thanopoulos coming on to get the final three outs to clinch the win.
GAME TWO RECAP
For the second straight game, Columbia blasted a pair of home runs to support a strong pitching effort, knocking off Dartmouth, 4-1, to clinch the Ivy League Championship. Vandercook hit his second homer of the day and Gus Craig launched his sixth of the year to help provide the necessary run support for Columbia starter Kevin Roy to earn his fifth win of the season. Thomas Crispi and Thanopoulos each tossed just over an inning of relief, with the later earning his second save of the year.
Similar to game one, Dartmouth got on the board first, scoring the initial run in the bottom of the third. Parisi led off the frame with a single through the left side and moved around to third on a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch. Thomas Roulis completed Parisi’s trip around the bases with a single to left center.
Columbia though, would not let the Dartmouth lead stand for long, putting up three runs in the top of the fourth. Savage led off the inning reaching safely on a throwing error by Nick Lombardi at third, which would come back to cost the Big Green in a big way. Dartmouth was able to get the next two batters out on a grounder and strikeout, but Aaron Silbar got the Lions on the board with a single to center to score Savage. Gus Craig gave the Lions the lead for good in the next at bat, putting a charge into a 2-2 pitch, sending it over the right field wall for two more runs and a 3-1 Columbia lead.
Roy continued to do his part on the hill, breezing through the fifth and sixth with two three-up, three-down innings. With Columbia up in the top of the seventh, the rain started to come down and forced the game into a 46 minute delay, ending Roy’s day with just three hits and one earned run allowed.
After the delay, Crispi took over on the hill and was forced into a jam when Dartmouth put runners on second and third with one out, but the sophomore lefty buckled down and got a ground out with the infield playing in and a fly out to end the threat.
Vandercook provided an insurance tally for Columbia in the top of the ninth, driving the first pitch he saw over the familiar right field wall to extend the lead to 4-1.
Thanopoulos came on in relief for the second straight game, getting the Lions final five outs to celebrate both wins Saturday from the mound.