NEW YORK - Columbia needed a thrilling two-out, two-RBI double from Robb Paller to take game one against Princeton, 3-2, but left no doubt in game two, slamming four home runs to sweep Saturday’s doubleheader with an 8-2 score in game two.
GAME ONE RECAP
Trailing 2-1 with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, outfielder Robb Paller rocketed a 1-1 pitch to the right center gap to plate a pair of runs, giving Columbia a 3-2, walk-off victory in game one Saturday at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium.
David Speer pitched well for the Lions, putting them in position for the late inning heroics, striking out 10 batters, giving up six hits and two earned runs in the complete-game victory. The win moves Speer to 2-0 on the year.
Speer mowed through the Princeton lineup in the first four frames, retiring the first 12 batters he faced, six by strikeouts. His dominance shined in the third when he struck out all three batters he faced.
In the bottom of the third, Columbia got on the board in untypical fashion. Will Savage, who was 3-for-3 in the game, knocked a single to get on base. Savage then got caught up on a run down on a steal attempt, but an errant throw by the Tigers’ shortstop, Danny Hoy, went out of play with the umpires advancing Savage all the way up to third. David Vandercook then had a 1-0 pitch go off the bottom knob of his bat into fair territory and Savage made the heads up play to race home, beating the play at the plate.
Princeton broke through with its first hit and run in the fifth frame. Paul Tupper and Zack Belski led off with consecutive singles and each moved up a bag on Tyler Servais’ sacrifice bunt. Jonathan York then singled to right field to score Tupper. The Tigers were in position to take the lead on Danny Baer’s fly ball to center, but Jordan Serena reeled it in and threw a laser to home plate where Mike Fischer tagged out Belski trying to score, ending the inning.
Belski got his pay back to begin the seventh, sending a pitch over the right field wall to make it a 2-1 Princeton lead with the Lions having just one last turn at the dish.
John Kinne led off the bottom of the seventh with a single back up the middle and was then pinch-run for by Shane Adams. Adams moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Princeton was able to get the next two batters out, but a walk to Savage and a bean ball that hit Vandercook loaded the bases. Paller stood in and launched a 1-1 pitch to deep right center, plating Adams and Savage to give the Lions the 3-2 win before he was mobbed at second by his teammates.
GAME TWO RECAP
The power bats were on showcase in game two, as Vandercook, Fischer, Gus Craig and Paller homered to lead Columbia to an 8-2 victory. Thanopoulos moved to 4-0 on the year, limiting the Tigers to four hits and two runs, while striking out nine. Adam Cline came on in relief and allowed just two hits in the final three frames to close out the win.
Princeton got on the board first with a Hoy long ball in the top of the first, but Columbia responded in the bottom half with a two-run shot from Vandercook. Serena led off with a single to right and two batters later Vandercook drove through a 2-1 pitch and sent it over the high centerfield wall to put Columbia up 2-1.
Craig added to the lead in the in the second frame with his first of two RBI in the game. His drive to deep center scored Nick Maguire who led off the frame with a walk.
Maguire extended the lead to 4-1 in the third, roping a two-out double down the right field line, scoring Aaron Silbar, who was hit by a pitch in the previous at bat. Princeton got one run back in the top of the fourth with a Belski RBI, but the Lions once again responded in a loud way.
The bottom of the fourth kicked off with a bomb from Mike Fischer that landed well over the left field wall, prompting a pitching change by Princeton. The new hurler did little to change Craig’s approach, as the Lions’ right fielder sent the very first pitch he saw to center, easily clearing the top of the extended centerfield wall.
Paller got in on the long ball action to begin the bottom of the fifth, ripping his own homer to centerfield. The Lions final run came in the eighth, as three straight singles were capped by a Serena RBI drive back up the middle. Cline, who pitched very well in three innings of work, got two strikeouts and a ground out in the ninth to end the game.
Craig, Fischer and Maguire each had three hits in the game, as Columbia tallied 13 hits in game two.
Games three and four of the series will begin Sunday at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium at noon.