CONWAY, S.C. – The Lions just couldn’t get the offense going as Columbia lost to East Carolina 9-0 in the Conway Regional of the NCAA Baseball Championship. With the loss, Columbia was eliminated from the Championship and ECU lived to play another day.
“I’m very proud of my team and what they accomplished this season,” said Head Coach Brett Boretti. “Obviously I’m disappointed that we didn’t have a better day today, but it does not take anything away from what this group accomplished, particularly the seniors. They’ve come so far.”
East Carolina jumped on the board in the first with a two-run home run by Jaime Ray. ECU kept the two-run lead until the Pirates’ catcher, Corey Kemp, hit a three-run shot in the third to extend the lead to 5-0. ECU tacked on another run in the third to take a 6-0 advantage, en route to the 9-0 final.
Columbia starter Joe Scarlata lasted 2.1 innings allowing six runs on five hits with three walks before being lifted for Geoff Whitaker in the third.
Whitaker went 1.2 innings allowing two runs on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
John Baumann continued to pitch well out of the bullpen, going 4.0 innings and allowing one run on three hits with two walks and four punch outs.
Joey Mizzoni closed the game for the Lions, pitching a scoreless ninth inning, retiring all three batters faced.
Offensively, the Lions had four hits by Nick Cox, Dean Forthun, Ron Williams and Mike Roberts.
“Even though my Columbia career is over, it is great to know that the program has a great future with our talented underclassmen,” said Columbia senior pitcher John Baumann. “They are going to be successful for years to come and it is great to have been a part of that transformation.”
The Lions finish the season as the Ivy League Champions for the first time since 1977 and made their first NCAA appearance since 1976. At 22-30, 15-5 Overall, the Lions set the single season record for Conference wins and boasted eight players on All-Ivy League teams, including the 2008 Blair Bat winner Noah Cooper, the 2008 Ivy League Player of the Year Henry Perkins and the 2008 Ivy League Rookie of the Year Nick Cox.
“We got a taste of the next level now,” said Head Coach Brett Boretti. “Now we have to get back to work and do it all over again. I told the team it is much easier to become a champion than to stay a champion. That is what we have to work towards now.”