Lions Rally Twice, Come back to Defeat Rutgers 7-6 in 10 Innings
NEW YORK - Columbia rallied from deficits of 4-1 and 6-5 late in the game and won it in the 10th when Justin Wong scored from third base on a passed ball with two outs, giving the Lions a wild 7-6 comeback victory in the final game of a week-long homestand.
Rutgers strung together three two-out hits in the first inning against Columbia starter Zack Tax to take a 2-0 lead after the first half-inning.
Rutgers went ahead 3-1 in the third when Patrick Kivlehan stole home after a fake to third, throw to first move. The Scarlet Knights loaded the bases in the fifth inning but Joey Donino induced a 4-6-3 double play ball and struck out Michael Zavala to limit the damage to just one run.
Trailing 4-1 in the sixth, Columbia went ahead with four runs in the inning. Pizzano cracked a solo home run over the center field fence with one out that made it a 4-2 game. Nick Ferraresi followed with a sharp single to left field. Ferraresi advanced to second base when the catcher Zavala's throw to catch Ferraresi at first base sailed down the right field line for an error.
Alex Black then stroked an opposite-field double down the right field to plate Ferraresi, making it 4-3.
With runners at first and second and two outs, Aaron Silbar hit a ground ball to the second baseman Nick Favatella. Favatella's throw was low but able to be handled at first base. The throw skipped past the first baseman Bill Hoermann and allowed Black to score the tying run.
Rutgers came back and put two runs on the board in the seventh. The go-ahead run scored on Steve Zavala's sacrifice fly to right field that advanced Kivlehan to third base with one out.
Rutgers then attempted a suicide squeeze bunt with a runner at third and one out but the ball was bunted right in front of the plate by Michael Zavala. Columbia catcher Mike Fischer alertly tagged Kivlehan trying to score and fired to first base to complete an unusual 2-3 double play and end the inning with no further damage.
Trailing 6-5 going into the eighth inning, Columbia's rally started with a single by Serena into left field on an 0-2 pitch. Serena stole second base and scored the tying run when pinch-hitter Gus Craig laced a double the other way into the left field corner.
With the game tied at 6-6, David Spinosa entered from the Columbia bullpen. Spinosa put the first two men on base but came back to strike out Kivlehan and Steve Zavala, the number four and five batters for the Scarlet Knights. Spinosa then retired Michael Zavala on a ground ball to get out of the inning.
Spinosa worked around a leadoff single in the 10th, setting the stage for Columbia to win the game in the bottom of the 10th.
With one out, Alexander Aurrichio drew a walk and Wong came in to run at first base. A throw to first base got past new first baseman Andres Vazquez, allowing Wong to take second base.
With two outs and Nick Crucet the batter, the first pitch from Rutgers reliever Charlie Law bounced and got just a few feet away from the catcher. Wong alertly sprinted to third base, putting the tying run 90 feet away.
That ended up being a key play, as Law's 1-2 pitch to Crucet was outside and the catcher couldn't handle it. As the ball went to the backstop, Wong darted home, sliding in ahead of the throw to the plate by the catcher, to score the winning run. The Lions' dugout mobbed Wong at the plate, celebrating its seventh win in the last eight games.
Spinosa earned his first win with two scoreless innings of relief. Law was saddled with the loss despite not allowing a base hit in 1 2/3 innings of work.
The Lions are back in action on Saturday, April 7 for a doubleheader at Harvard beginning at noon.
The Lions are 2-0 in extra-inning games this season ... Columbia did not commit an error and turned two double plays in the game ... the Lions outhit the Scarlet Knights 10-8 ... Columbia stole three bases without being caught ... Mike Fischer nailed Steve Zavala trying to steal second base to end the first inning ... Zach Epstein threw a hitless inning in the eighth ... Jon Eisen (13 games) and Dario Pizzano (11 games) each extended their hit streaks ... before being retired in the third inning, Eisen had reached base in eight straight plate appearances ... Pizzano has reached base in each of the last 17 games ... Joey Donino struck out three in 3 1/3 innings ... the game lasted three hours and 25 minutes ... it was played under clear skies and 67 degrees on a near-perfect day for baseball in New York City.