The opening weekend of Ivy League action kicks off this weekend at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium for Columbia with visits from Brown and Yale.
The Lions are coming off their second shutout win of the season after five pitchers combined to hold Army to just four hits in a 4-0 victory at West Point. Sophomore Nick Maguire went 4-for-5 in the game, leading a Columbia offense that talled 13 hits against the Black Knights.
After starting the season 1-6, the Bears have won three of their last four contests, including two wins over UMass-Lowell and a 16-15 edging of William & Mary. Brown’s other win came on March 14 at George Mason, 6-3.
The Bulldogs enter the Ancient Eight season on a three-game losing streak to drop to 7-9 overall. After taking the series opener against Holy Cross last weekend, Yale dropped the final three contests, all by at least five runs.
SCOUTING THE LIONS
The Lions got back in the win column Thursday night, defeating Army 4-0 in West Point. The win snapped a five-game losing skid and was the second shutout of the year for the Lions, the first since a season-opening 2-0 downing of USF.
Nick Maguire brings the hot bat into Ivy League action after going 4-for-5 with a run scored against the Black Knights. The sophomore leads the team with a .352 batting average and is one of just three players with a home run this season for Columbia.
Junior speedster Jordan Serena is second on the team in hitting at .338, but paces the Lions with seven doubles and seven stolen bases. Fellow outfielder Robb Paller has been a constant hitting machine since missing last season due to injury. Paller has racked up 16 RBI, more than double any other Lion thus far, and is hitting at a .308 clip.
Maguire and Serena have both posted clean slates in the field for Columbia. Maguire has taken over primary duties at first base this season, while Serena continues to man centerfield actively for the second consecutive year.
On the mound, Columbia’s top three starters all begin the Ancient Eight slate with 1-2 records in four starts. Ace David Speer enters the weekend with a 3.72 ERA and a team-best 21 strikeouts. Joey Donino comes in sporting a 4.43 ERA over 20.1 innings and is holding opposing hitters to a .246 batting average against. Kevin Roy maintains a 5.85 ERA over 20 innings of work, striking out 13 batters this year.
Last season, Columbia swept doubleheaders against the Bears and Bulldogs on the road.
SCOUTING THE BEARS
Brown will begin Ivy League play with a 4-6 mark after a pair of games at Richmond on March 26 were cancelled. The last time out, the Bears took down a strong William & Mary squad by a score of 16-15 after posting eight runs in the eighth inning. Brown won three of four games in Williamsburg, Va. beating UMass-Lowell a pair of times as well.
Junior Dan Kerr paces a Brown offense that is batting at a .254 average as a team. Kerr holds a .343 average with 12 hits, but just one of those is for extra bases. J.J. Franco and Daniel Massey, who both have also started all 10 games this season, come in hitting .325 and .324, respectively. Franco has a team-best 13 hits, while Massey’s nine RBI leads the Bears.
On the hill, Christian Taugner boasts a team-low 1.23 ERA after picking up his first win of the season on March 22 in an 8-2 downing of UMass-Lowell. Taugner threw 7.1 innings, allowing just five hits and one earned run in the winning effort. Dave St. Lawrence is the only other Brown hurler to start three games this season. He holds an 0-2 record with a 7.02 ERA following a no decision in the high-scoring win against W&M, in which he gave up five earned runs and 11 hits. Lucas Whitehill (5.79 ERA) and Anthony Galan (6.55 ERA) each have one win on the season in two starts.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Yale enters conference play tied with Cornell for the most wins to date thus far with seven. The Bulldogs though, head into Ancient Eight competition under-.500 (7-9) after dropping three of four to Holy Cross in a home-and-home doubleheader series last weekend.
Chasen Ford picked up his second win of the season (2-2) and Cale Hanson notched save number three in a 4-3 defeat of the Crusaders on March 22, but Holy Cross proceeded to score 10, 16 and eight runs in the next three games to trounce Yale in each by at least five runs. Ford sports a 4.39 ERA, the lowest among Yale’s top-four starters. Chris Lanham has earned a 3-1 record in his four starts, striking out a team-high 18 opposing batters. Michael Coleman and David Hickey have also made four starts this spring for Yale. Coleman holds a 5.01 ERA and a 1-1 mark, while Hickey’s ERA is up to 10.69 with a 1-2 record.
Jacob Hunter and Green Campbell, both starters in all 16 games for Yale this season, lead the lineup with .317 and .312 batting averages, as well as RBI with 12 and 11, respectively. Harrison White’s .423 average at the dish is tops on Yale’s squad, but he has started just eight games this season.