NEW YORK - Under the direction of eighth-year head coach
Brett Boretti, Columbia's baseball team is set to begin the 2013 season with a
four-game slate at Lamar in Beaumont, Texas from March 1-3.
Due to low temperatures in the forecast, the series will
begin earlier than expected. Friday's game has been moved up to 3 p.m., while
Sunday's first pitch has been moved back one hour to noon.
Friday, March 1 -4 p.m. - Live Stats
Saturday, March 2 (Game 1) – 2 p.m. - Live Stats
Saturday, March 2 (Game 2) - approx. 5 p.m. - Live Stats
Sunday, March 3 - 1 p.m. - Live Stats
*All games are EST
The 2013 Lions feature 20 returning letterman, including
second team All-Ivy first baseman Alex Black and honorable mention All-Ivy selections
Stefan Olson and Nick Ferraresi.
Columbia has 10 position players with starting experience
and nine pitchers that recorded innings last season.
A talented class of 10 newcomers, including outfielder Joey
Falcone, the 2011 CUNY and ECAC Rookie of the Year transfer from the College of
Staten Island, rounds out the Columbia veterans.
The Lions ended the 2012 season with 21 wins and a 12-8 Ivy
League record. It was the second 20-win season and Ivy League winning season
for the program in the last three years.
The Lions return a number of reliable arms to its rotation
and bullpen in 2013 as Tim Giel, David Speer, Joey Donino, Joey Gandolfo and
Spinosa will look to make an immediate impact on the mound this year.
Predicted to be the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year by
Baseball America, Giel recorded a 3.83 ERA a season ago, allowing three earned
runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts in 54.0 innings of work.
Speer made nine weekend starts in 2012 and ranked second on
the team with 40 strikeouts in 47.2 innings pitched. Left-hander Gandolfo
fanned 15 batters in 12 appearances a season ago in 13.1 IP.
Spinosa will look to anchor the bullpen after a strong
rookie season in which he made a team-high 18 appearances on the mound and led
the staff with four saves.
Columbia will look to co-captain Alex Black at first base, though first-year Nick Maguire will also make an impact. Black bounced back
from an injury that wiped out his 2011 season to post strong offensive numbers
in 2012 that earned him second team All-Ivy League honors. Playing primarily at the corner infield
spots, the Woodlands, Texas native enjoyed a breakout season at the plate, leading
the team with a .370 batting average to go with 40 hits, 14 which went for
extra bases. He also made an appearance on the mound, pitching a scoreless
two-thirds of an inning with a strikeout in Columbia's opening game at
Boretti expects Nick Crucet and Jordan Serena to see time at
second base, as both are flexible throughout the middle infield after making 25
starts apiece last year. Crucet, who was tabbed the preseason Ivy League "best
base-runner" by CollegeBaseballInsider.com, was efficient on base in 2012,
stealing 10 bases in 11 tries.
At third base, David Vandercook looks poised to win the job.
The sophomore played in 17 games in 2012, making seven starts at the corner
Aaron Silbar is likely to see time at shortstop after
starting 38 of 41 games as the cornerstone of the Columbia infield in his first
full year as a starter last season.
Behind the plate, the Lions will turn to a familiar face in Mike Fischer, who
was tabbed the preseason Ivy League "best defensive catcher" by
CollegeBaseballInsider.com. Fischer made 25 starts as Columbia's top catcher
last year, throwing out 41.2 percent of base runners while making just one
error. Junior Enmanuel Cabreja will also see time as catcher, as he made 28 appearances while starting 17 times in 2012.
Expect to see veteran outfielder and co-captain Nick
Ferraresi to make an impact in the outfield for Columbia. Ferraresi capped a
strong 2012 season with his first honorable mention All-Ivy League honor. Consistent
all season, he hit .310 with four home runs and 32 runs batted in. Also
rotating through the outfield will be Gus Craig, Eric Williams, Logan Boyhers, Falcone and
Serena, who each have unique skills and powerful bats.
All-Time Series vs.
This season marks just the second time in program history
that Columbia and Lamar have met. In their first meeting in 2009, the Cards took
three out of four, but the Lions snapped Lamar's win streak to hand them their
first loss of the season with a 15-8 win.