NEW YORK - Columbia's five runs in the first inning and two more in the second inning was enough offense to help lift the Lions to a 7-5 win over Army on Wednesday afternoon on Robertson Field at Satow Stadium.
In the bottom of the first, Columbia's offense exploded for five runs, sparked by a leadoff double by Jon Eisen that turned around center fielder Matthew Carter and one-hopped the wall. After Dario Pizzano walked with one out, Nick Ferraresi cranked a double off the center field fence to score Eisen with the first run of the ballgame.
With the bases loaded and one out, Billy Rumpke lofted a fly ball that sent right fielder Cody Murtle back a few strides. The ball glanced off Murtle's glove and went behind him for a two-base error, allowing two runs to score and make it 3-0. Aaron Silbar drew a walk to force in a run and two batters later, Eisen got hit by a pitch to force home another run. After eleven Lions came to the plate in the first inning, Columbia led 5-0.
Army added a run in the second to make it 5-1 but Columbia starter Joey Gandolfo got the final two outs on strikeouts to keep the Lions safely ahead.
In the bottom of the second, Ferraresi and Black connected on consecutive well-struck doubles to make it a 6-1 game. Rumpke then drove a single into left center to plate Black as the Lions held a 7-1 advantage after two.
Kevin McKague's two-run home run in the third inning cut the Columbia lead to 7-3. The Black Knights added an unearned run in the fourth to get a run closer at 7-4.
In the seventh, Army made it 7-5 after three hit batters and an error. With the bases loaded and one out, Lion reliever Harrison Slutsky beared down and got the remaining two outs on a called third strike and a grounder to second base to end the threat.
The Black Knights put runners on the corners with two outs in the eighth but Columbia's David Spinosa came in from the bullpen and struck out number-two batter Daniel Cortes to end the inning.
Spinosa allowed a leadoff double in the ninth to McKague but struck out the four and five hitters and got the final out on a ground ball to nail down his second save in the last two games.
On a predetermined staff day, Gandolfo earned the win with 2 1/3 innings of work. He allowed two runs on two hits and struck out three.
The Lions host Yale on Saturday, March 31 for a 1 p.m. doubleheader to begin league action on Robertson Field at Satow Stadium.
Six of Columbia's nine base hits were doubles ... the Lions have hit 38 doubles in 19 games ... Dario Pizzano was 1-for-3 with a walk and has reached base in 12 straight games ... Columbia pitchers had eight strikeouts to one for Army's staff ... Joey Gandolfo earned his first collegiate victory ... George Thanopoulos tossed two scoreless innings for the Lions ... David Spinosa has a team-high 17 strikeouts in 14 innings ... Army had won five straight games overall and nine straight games in the series, dating back to the 2004 season ... a steady rain pelted the New York City area early in the afternoon, but by game time, there were no clouds in the sky ... the game was played under ideal spring conditions, sunny skies and 55 degrees.