DURHAM, N.C.- Columbia fell to Duke, 4-1, in its first game on the second day of action in Durham, N.C. The game was tied, 1-1, through the first four innings, but Duke managed three additional runs over the next three innings to edge the Lions. Columbia dropped the final game of the series, 19-5.
Grant Monroe (2-0) was on the mound for the Blue Devils in game one. Columbia’s bats were hot in the opening inning with a pair of hits. Junior Ron Williams’ single was followed by a deep shot to right field by Jake Summerhays. However, Columbia was unable to convert, and stranded two runners.
Sophomore Joe Scarlata got the start on the mound for Columbia. Scarlata found himself down 3-0 against Gabriel Saade, but battled his way back to a full count, ultimately striking out Saade looking. Matt Williams had a line drive to center field, but was forced to hold at first after a great play by first-year Nick Cox. The next two Blue Devils flied out and grounded out to end the inning.
In the top of the second, Columbia had back-to-back singles from Henry Perkins and Noah Cooper to begin the inning. Dean Forthun bunted in an attempt to move the baserunners, but Perkins was thrown out at third. Next up for the Lions was Cox. With the count at 2-2, Monroe threw a wild pitch advancing the base runners to second and third. Monroe got Cox swinging on a fastball inside on the next pitch to escape the inning, once again leaving two runners stranded.
In the bottom of the second, Jeremy Gould hit a line drive to third baseman Mike Roberts who made a diving catch. Roberts quickly jumped up to make the play to first, but Gould narrowly beat out his throw. With Tim Sherlock at the plate for the Blue Devils, Gould attempted to steal second but was thrown out by Forthun to end the inning.
Duke took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth off a solo shot by Gabriel Saade, his second of the season.
Perkins led off for Columbia in the fourth, belting a triple off the centerfield wall. Forthun hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Perkins and even the score at 1-1.
With two out in the bottom of the fifth, McCurdy advanced to first after being hit by a pitch, and moved to second after a passed ball. Scarlata walked the next batter, followed by a line drive up the middle by Williams, driving in McCurdy. As Columbia attempted to throw out Williams stealing second, Saade stole home to give Duke a 3-1 lead.
Ryan Perry entered the game to begin the sixth inning for Duke. Cooper advanced to first after being hit by a pitch, followed by a base hit, but both runners were left stranded.
Sophomore Clay Bartlett came in to relieve Scarlata (0-1) in the top of the seventh. Lemmerman singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Saade then hit a long one to left field to drive in a run for the Blue Devils. Saade tried to extend his double to a triple off a bad throw, but was thrown out at third.
The Lions were unable to generate any last rally in the final two innings, ultimately falling to the Blue Devils, 4-1.
In game two, Duke jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after the first. Williams walked to begin the inning, and moved to second on a line drive to center field by Hassan. Freiman then sent a ball soaring off the left field wall, driving in two runs. He scored on a single by Gould.
Columbia finally got on the board in the top of the fourth. Mike Roberts singled to start things off for Columbia, and was moved to third on a base hit by Perkins and a fielder’s choice ground ball by Cooper. He then scored off a passed ball to cut the lead to 3-1.
After the Blue Devils tacked on two additional runs in the bottom half of the inning, Columbia cut the lead to 5-3 in the top of the fifth. Cox reached second to start things off with a single followed by a stolen base. A failed pickoff attempt moved Cox to third to set up Williams for an RBI single to left field. Williams’ single also moved Banos, who had drawn a walk, to second. With runners on first and second, Foreman’s pitch to senior pinch hitter Mike Malfettone bounced off the glove of catcher Kyle Kreick and rolled to the backstop. Banos scored from second while Williams moved to third. That would be all for Columbia, as the Blue Devils got two quick outs to keep the score 5-3.
Duke’s offense erupted in the next three innings to score 14 runs. Columbia had one last rally in the eighth that started with Perkins’ lead-off double. Kyle Roberts followed with a slow roller down the third base line. Condon fired the ball to first, but his throw went wide, allowing Perkins to score, and Roberts to advance to second. Cox then tripled to left center field, scoring Roberts.
That would be all for Columbia. With the loss, the Lions fall to 0-4, while the Blue Devils improve to 10-0.
Columbia travels to Malibu, Calif. next weekend, March 7-9, to take on Pepperdine in a four-game series.