ITHACA, N.Y. – Three Columbia pitchers combined to give up just eight hits and no runs over 16 innings against Cornell Saturday, as the Lions charged past Cornell by scores of 1-0 and 8-0. Columbia has now won 11 straight games and is 11-3 in the Ivy League, just one game back of Penn (12-2), who split with Princeton Saturday, for the top spot in the Gehrig Division.
GAME ONE RECAP
Game one of the four-game series at Cornell proved to be a pitcher’s duel, pairing two of the Ivy League’s best against one another in Columbia’s David Speer and Cornell’s Michael Byrne. Despite an impressive eight strikeouts and two hits allowed by Byrne, it would be Speer would come away with the win, keeping the Big Red off the scoreboard, giving up just three hits and no walks, while sitting down seven batters.
Speer and Byrne sped through the first 2.5 frames, sitting down each batter in order. Cornell’s Ben Swinford recorded the first hit of the game with an infield single in the bottom of the third, but it would be as far as he would advance.
Columbia struck gold with the game’s lone run in the top of the fourth. With Jordan Serena on second base and two outs, Columbia’s RBI leader Robb Paller laced a single through the right side to drive home Serena. Paller would be out trying to advance to second on the play, but the damage was done, as Speer allowed just two base runners the rest of the way.
Cornell was able to get a hit from its lead-off hitter in the bottom of the fourth, but a strikeout paired with Mike Fischer throwing out Tom D’Alessandro trying steal third cleared the bases. A ground out ended the inning.
Speer tallied a strikeout in each of the final four innings to earn his fourth win of the season in his fourth complete game effort. With the seven strikeouts he now has 46 on the year.
GAME TWO RECAP
The bats came alive for Columbia with 13 hits, while George Thanopoulos threw six scoreless innings as the Lions’ starter, driving Columbia to an 8-0 victory in Saturday’s second game.
Rookie Will Savage led the way with four hits, three runs and a trio of steals, while Thanopoulos struck out seven and allowed just three hits, improving to 5-0.
It took just three batters for Columbia to go up on the Big Red in game two. Back-to-back doubles by Savage and Vandercook led to Columbia taking the lead in the first inning. Gus Craig drove in the Lions’ second run with his 11th RBI of the year in the second inning, singling through the left side to plate Nick Maguire. Columbia’s first baseman had led off the inning with a double to center field.
The middle of the order doubled the Lions’ lead to 4-0 in the fifth. Serena and Savage each singled with one out, bringing Vandercook to the dish. A misplayed ball by Cornell’s shortstop allowed Vandercook to reach safely, while Serena raced home. Paller than knocked a sacrifice fly to center with Savage tagging up on the play before racing home.
Among the most aggressive teams on the base paths, Columbia used its speed to account for two of the three runs it scored in the seventh. Craig opened up the inning getting struck by a pitch and then moved up to third on a Savage single. With runners on the corners, the quick Savage was able to induce a throw to second on a safe stolen base attempt, while Craig turned on the jets and scored at home in a double steal. Two batters later, Savage stole third and then came in to score on a wild pitch. Paller continued his strong day at the dish, doubling with two outs before scoring on Aaron Silbar’s single to center.
Columbia tacked on an eighth run in the top of the ninth, with Craig providing a sacrifice fly to score Maguire.
Thomas Crispi came on in the seven and continued the strong pitching effort for Columbia. The sophomore picked up his second save, throwing three scoreless innings, giving up two hits, while striking out four.
Columbia and Cornell are back at it for two more games Sunday afternoon, beginning at noon at David F. Hoy Field.