Baseball Hosts Cornell This Weekend as Gehrig Division Play Begins
ATTENTION STUDENTS AND FANS IN THE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AREA PLANNING TO ATTEND THIS WEEKEND'S GAMES: Please note that 1-Train service will be running express from 96th Street to 145th Street this weekend.
NEW YORK – Winners of five straight, Columbia is set to face Cornell in a four-game weekend series on Robertson Field at Satow Stadium to open Gehrig Division action. Both doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday will begin at noon.
Columbia (14-15, 6-2 Ivy) finds itself just one win shy of a .500 record after winning its last five games. The Lions took doubleheaders from Yale and Brown on the road last weekend before returning to Robertson Field at Satow Stadium to take down St. John’s in a midweek matchup.
During Columbia’s five-game win streak, the Lions allowed just seven runs to score, dropping the pitching staff’s overall ERA to 2.67, second-best in the Ivy League. David Speer is pacing the Lions with a 0.69 ERA, allowing just one run in 13 innings of work against Ivy league opponents. Overall, Speer has a 2.13 ERA in 38 innings on the bump. Tim Giel leads the Lions in innings thrown with 40, pitching his way to a 3.15 ERA. Giel’s three complete games this year places 11th in the national rankings.
At the plate, the Lions are sporting a .275 batting average in its first eight conference contests, third best in the Ivy League. Power and speed have highlighted the Lions offensive onslaught, slamming five home runs and stealing 11 bases, both conference bests. Overall, the Lions have belted 13 home runs and 40 stolen bases after snagging five bags against the Red Storm. Jordan Serena, who is the conference leader and ranks in the top 60 in the nation in stolen bases, has swept a team-high 15 bags.
Through the initail portion of the conference slate, Aaron Silbar ranks ninth with a .385 average and stands fourth with five RBI. On the season, Silbar is carrying a .313 average to pace Columbia. Nick Ferraresi and Alex Black have been the run generators for the Lions, posting 17 and 16 RBI, respectively. Black, who came on to earn the save against St. John’s, has also blasted four homers to lead not only the Lions, but the entire Ivy League.
Cornell (17-10, 5-3 Ivy) shares a three-way tie for second in the Gehrig Division after splitting doubleheaders against Harvard and Dartmouth last weekend. The Big Red stand at 5-3 in the Ancient Eight, with a sweep of Brown and another doubleheader split with Yale.
Through the first eight conference games, Cornell has given up a conference-low 13 earned runs and leads the Ivy League with a 1.87 ERA. Zach McCulley improved to 3-0 on the year with a complete-game 3-0 shutout of Dartmouth in the nightcap of their doubleheader Sunday. McCulley, a junior, has yet to give up a run in his 12.2 innings of Ivy League action and is tied for second in the conference with 12 strikeouts.
Despite McCulley’s solid stats, the Big Red are led on the hill by Nick Busto. The Seattle, Wash. product has pitched to a 4-0 record this spring and boasts a team-low 1.38 ERA over 39 innings, tied for second-best in the Ivy League.
At the dish, Cornell is hitting at a .259 clip as a team during Ivy League games. JD Wetsel is the lone Cornell player batting above .300 on the year. The sophomore holds a .312 average, while driving in 12 RBI. Whetsel also has set the tone on the base paths for Cornell, stealing 12 bases on 15 attempts. Matt Hall paces the Big Red with 30 hits this season, including a team-best eight doubles.
The Columbia-Cornell series dates back to the 19th century with the first game taking place in 1885. The Big Red will bring a 123-96 all-time advantage into this weekend’s series. Columbia lost 3-of-4 to the Big Red last year, but ended the series at Hoy Field with a 5-1 victory. Two years ago at Satow Stadium, the Lions came away with three wins, including a 12-2 throttling in the second game of the series.
COLLEGE SPORTS MADNESS
Aaron Silbar was named the College Sports Madness Ivy League Player of the week on April 9 following a strong week behind the bat. The shortstop cranked seven hits, including a trio of doubles and an RBI over five games for the Lions, helping to lift Columbia to back-to-back doubleheader sweeps of Yale and Brown. Overall, Silbar averaged a .412 batting average on the week, while also staying clean in the diamond without committing an error.
Through the first eight Ivy League games, Columbia boasts the top fielding percentage at .986. The Lions have been charged with just four errors on 94 attempts.
WIth three RBI in the Lions game at Rutgers on April 2, senior Nick Ferraresi reach the 100 RBI mark for his career. The Wellington, Fla. native currently has 101 RBI.
Tim Giel has sat down 125 batters during his Columbia career, inclduing 29 batters this season. David Speer is just 11 strikeouts from joining his classmate in the 100-K club.
The Lions have racked up 26 doubles plays on the season, good for second in the Ancient Eight. Columbia’s average of 0.89 doubles plays per game ranks 68th nationally.
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