NEW YORK – With the NCAA Regionals just over a week away, the Columbia baseball team will look to stay fresh with three games at Bucknell this weekend. The Lions will play a pair of nine-inning games Friday, May 23 beginning at noon, with a single game to be played on Saturday, May 24, also starting at noon.
The series at Bucknell (29-17-1)will be the first competition for Columbia (27-17) since sweeping Dartmouth for the second straight year in the Ivy League Championship Series on May 10. The Ivy League title capped an outstanding five-week stretch for the Lions where they won 19 of 21 games, including a program-record 15 straight.
Head coach Brett Boretti and the coaching staff has built Columbia into a perennial power in the Ivy League. Since 2008, the Lions have won four Gehrig Division titles and three Ivy League Championships. With this season’s title run, the Lions have punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in program history.
Following the team’s accomplishment on May 10, the Ivy League honored 11 Columbia players with all-conference honors. The 11 All-Ivy League selections was a new program record, while the four first-team selections matched the program-standard set in 2010. Highlighting all the selections were senior David Speer and first-year Will Savage. Speer became the first unanimous Pitcher of the Year selection since 2004, while Savage was named Rookie of the Year and the Blair Bat Award winner.
Bucknell is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010 after completing its run through the Patriot League Tournament with a sweep of Lehigh on May 16. Facing Lehigh, the Bison used three runs in the eighth inning of game one of the title series to comeback for a 5-4 win and cruised to a 7-2 victory in game two.
The Bison matched Army for the best conference record at 15-5 this season and earned the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament. Bucknell swept Navy on May 10 in the semifinals, earning its spot in the title series opposite Lehigh.
Although only leading the Patriot League in one offensive category (triples-19), Bucknell used a balance attack throughout its lineup to rack up 29 wins. Four players hit above .300 with senior Corey Furman leading the way with a .388 average. A co-captain in 2014, Furman was a first team All-Patriot League selection at designated hitter in 2013. Junior Anthony Gingerelli is second on the team with a .326, with a team-leading five homers.
Senior Dan Weigel has tossed a team-high 83.2 innings in 12 starts, posting a 2.80 ERA with three complete games. Junior Bryson Hough has made 13 starts on the year, throwing 80.1 innings with a 4.37 ERA. Weigel and Hough are tied with a team-leading 43 strikeouts this season.