ITHACA, N.Y. – Columbia baseball earned its third straight shutout of Cornell in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader and then completed the series sweep with an 8-4 victory in game two, improving to 21-15 overall and 13-3 in the Ivy League. The sweep is the first over the Big Red for Columbia since 1994.
The sweep, paired with Penn splitting doubleheaders against Princeton both days, means the Lions and Quakers will enter next weekend’s final Gehrig Division series tied in the standings. The first doubleheader of the four-game series will be hosted by Penn at Meiklejohn Stadium on Friday, April 25 at 1 p.m., with the series concluding in New York at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium on Saturday, April 26 at 12:30 p.m. The winner of the series will go on to host the Ivy League Championship Series from May 3-4.
Columbia also made history on Sunday, winning its program-best 13th game in row. The Lions’ previous record was set in 1987 when they won the first 12 games of that season.
GAME ONE RECAP
Sunday’s doubleheader mimicked Saturday, with the first game proving to be a pitcher’s duel, before the bats came alive in the second game. Kevin Roy tossed his first shutout of the season and allowed just one hit for the second straight game on the hill for Columbia, with Gus Craig providing a pair of RBI at the dish for the 2-0 win.
Craig’s bat provided the game-winning runs in the second frame on a clutch two-out double down the right field line. Robb Paller led off the inning with a single to left center and Aaron Silbar was placed on first after being hit by a pitch. The two base runners moved up a bag on Nick Maguire’s sacrifice bunt and then easily scored on Craig’s blast. Paller and Craig both went 2-for-3 in the game.
Cornell’s best chances to get on the board came in the bottom of the second and the fifth, when they had two base runners aboard in each, but Roy was able to get a fly out in the second and a ground out in the fifth to halt any chance the Big Red had at a run. Roy finished the game with four strikeouts and improves to 4-3 on the year. The sophomore has won each of his last three starts, with the last two coming in complete-game, one-hit efforts.
GAME TWO RECAP
The series finale saw Cornell get is only runs of the weekend, but it wasn’t enough, as Columbia doubled up the Big Red, 8-4. Joey Donino earned the win on the hill for the Lions, while eight Columbia batters recorded hits.
Cornell grabbed the lead for the first time in 23 innings, posting three runs in the first frame. Chris Cruz, Jamie Smith and Ben Swinford each earned an RBI in the inning for the Big Red.
After a scoreless second, the Lions fired back with a trio of runs in the top of the third to even the score at 3-3. Jordan Serena was hit by a pitch to start things off and Will Savage doubled down the left field line to put two runners in scoring position. A David Vandercook walk loaded the bases, with Paller driving in the Lions’ first run on a sacrifice fly to center field. Silbar was then plunked to load the bases again, setting up Maguire for a two-RBI single to right that scored Vandercook and Savage.
Columbia took the lead in the next inning with Vandercook lacing a ground-rule double that plated Serena.
Craig’s outstanding series culminated with his fifth RBI on a solo homer to begin the sixth inning, increasing the Columbia lead to 5-3. Jordan Winawer drove home Swinford with a single to center in the bottom half of the inning for Cornell, but it would be the final run to cross the plate for the home squad.
The Lions added two more runs in the seventh, highlighted by an RBI triple from Paller, and closed the scoring in the eighth with an RBI single from Serena, making at an 8-4 ball game.
Donino worked five innings, striking out seven before giving way to Adam Cline for the next three frames. Cline allowed just two hits and one run, with Mike Weisman tossing the final inning, allowing one hit and no runs.