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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

Baseball Travels North to Take on Dartmouth, Harvard

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 04/04/2014
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ABOUT THE MATCHUPS
Columbia wraps up competition against the Rolfe Division this weekend with visits to Dartmouth and Harvard. Columbia hosted both squads last season, sweeping the Crimson, but fell in both games of a doubleheader to Dartmouth.

COLUMBIA’S STATUS
The Lions finally opened up Ivy League play on Monday and Tuesday after being rained out over the weekend. Columbia breezed by Brown with a pair of 4-0 defeats, but was then downed in consecutive games by Yale.

DARTMOUTH’S STATUS
The Big Green enter the weekend on a three-game losing streak, including twice at Princeton. Dartmouth has lost four of their last five and is just 1-3 after the first weekend of Ancient Eight action.

HARVARD’S STATUS
The Crimson has played only two conference games so far, splitting at Cornell on Tuesday. Harvard’s doubleheader at Princeton was postponed due to weather.

SCOUTING THE LIONS
The Lions got off to a strong start in Ivy League action, posting a pair of 4-0 shutouts against visiting Brown on Monday, March 31 at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium. The next day, Yale visited the Lions and came away with a pair of decisions to drop the Lions to 2-2 in the Ancient Eight as it heads north for the Dartmouth, Harvard swing through the Red Rolfe Division.

Columbia’s pitching staff has continued to show its ability to keep opposing hitters off balance, dropping its team ERA under 5.00 at 4.77. Sophomore George Thanopoulos had his best outing of the season against Brown, shutting the Bears down for just a pair of hits and nine strikeouts over eight innings in game two of Monday’s double dip. Game one starter, David Speer, was equally as dominant, giving up just three hits and sitting down seven batters in a complete game shutout. Thanopoulos has a team-best .188 batting average against and a 2.66 ERA, while Speer’s ERA in a team-high 36 innings is 3.00.

Generating run support has been the most recent issue for the Lions, posting just one run on eight hits against Yale after scoring four runs in each of the previous three games. Sophomore David Vandercook led the Lions in five games last week with a .417 batting average, while also blasting two doubles and driving in three runs. First-year Will Savage also had a good week at the dish, recording a .385 average, four runs scored and his first career homer on an inside the park effort against Brown. His hitting, in conjunction with his stellar play at second base, earned him Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors, the first such award for a Lion since 2010.

Through 22 games, Nick Maguire, Jordan Serena and Robb Paller are all hitting over .300 and account for 24 of Columbia’s 72 RBI. Paller paces the offense with 17 RBI, while Serena has racked up seven doubles and 17 runs scored. Maguire and Serena are also defensive stalwarts, as neither has committed an error thus far at first base and centerfield, respectively.

SCOUTING THE BIG GREEN
The Big Green suffered an early set back in their attempt to repeat as Red Rolfe Division champions, going 1-3 during the first weekend of Ivy League competition. Dartmouth opened with a split at Cornell in a pair of one-run games, including its 5-4 win in the second game in 11 innings. On Tuesday, Dartmouth was swept at Princeton and then dropped its third straight game when it fell to Quinnipiac Wednesday afternoon.

Junior Thomas Roulis and senior Jeff Keller have led the Dartmouth offense to date. Roulis sports a team-high .306 batting average and is tied with Joe Purritano for the team-lead with nine RBI. Keller paces the Big Green with 20 hits, including nine doubles. He is also 7-for-7 in steal attempts.

On the hill, Dartmouth holds a 6.50 team ERA. Among the Big Green’s starters, Louis Concato has the best ERA at 2.81, but just a single strikeout, in 16 innings of work. The rest of the rotation has ERAs above 4.00, including Duncan Robinson who has a team best 3-1 record at 13 strikeouts, but has a 5.03 mark on the bump.

SCOUTING THE CRIMSON
The Crimson began its Ivy League season with a split on the road at Cornell. Harvard captured the first game, 6-5, in 10 frames, but dropped the second, 6-2. Penn will visit the Crimson Saturday before Columbia takes O’Donnell Field Sunday.

Senior Carlton Bailey is the lone Harvard player hitting above a .300 clip, coming in at .385 and seven RBI. Junior Jack Colton is the team-leader with 10 RBI and five doubles. Senior Kyle Larrow is second in the Harvard lineup with a .289 average, pounding out a team-best 22 hits, including one of just two Crimson triples this season.

Sophomore right-hander Sean Poppen boasts a 1.44 ERA and a 2-1 record to lead the Crimson’s rotation. Nick Guener and Sam Dodge have each made five starts for Harvard, with Gruener matching Poppen with a team-best 21 strikeouts. Tanner Anderson has been the late game relief for Harvard, securing three saves on a 2.70 ERA.
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