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NEW YORK – The Columbia baseball team returns home to take on New York City rival Manhattan in a doubleheader on Wednesday, March 27 beginning at 2 p.m. at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium.
The two schools are separated by just seven miles and 14 subway stops on the 1 train, while Columbia and Manhattan’s baseball facilities are even closer. Baker Athletics Complex and Van Cortlandt Park are separated by just four stops on the 1 train that serves the boroughs of the Bronx and Manhattan.
The Lions (6-11) are currently riding a four-game winning streak after an undefeated weekend against Empire State opponents NYIT and Army. Columbia opened the 2013 home slate with a doubleheader sweep of the Bears on Friday (2-0, 2-1) and topped off the season sweep with a 9-4 victory over NYIT in West Point on Sunday. The Lions also defeated Army on the road in a 5-1 outing on Saturday afternoon.
The Jaspers (9-9, 3-0 MAC) also enter Wednesday’s meeting on a four-game winning streak after completing a series sweep over Iona last weekend. Columbia will look to make a comeback after Manhattan swept the Lions, 9-2 and 6-3, in a pair of seven-inning games in the Bronx.
Piling the Punchouts
Columbia pitchers combined for 39 strikeouts over three games vs. NYIT last weekend, highlighted by Adam Cline's impressive 14-strikeout performance in eight innings of work in game two on Friday. David Speer carried the Lions to their first home win of the season as he threw a complete game with 10 K's over seven innings. Joey Donino was the third pitcher to reach double figures as he fashioned a career-high 11 strikeouts in the series finale while adding another pair of K’s to close out game two.
Black in Business
Senior Alex Black has been a force as a utility player for the Lions, making his mark at first, at the plate and on the hill. Batting .298 on the season, the co-captain has knocked in 10 RBI to go with 17 hits and three homeruns. On the mound, Black has thrown 7.1 innings with seven strikeouts.
History was made on multiple levels earlier this season as the Lions notched an 8-4 upset over Arizona. It was the first time in program history that the Lions faced a defending national championship team, and subsequently the first time to have ever defeated a team bearing that title. Columbia reliever Joey Donino earned the win, and in turn picked up the first Ivy League Pitcher of the Week honors of his career. Donino marks the first Columbia reliever to garner Pitcher of the Week honors since former reliever and starter Chris Kotes received the award back on March 26, 1990. Kotes was later drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 23rd round of the 1991 MLB draft.
Ivy League Pitcher of the Week Honors
Columbia reliever Joey Donino was named Ivy League Co-Pitcher of the Week on March 12 after lifting the Lions to their first win of the season against No. 16 Arizona. The junior gave up just one hit on no runs in two innings of work during the 8-4 victory against the Wildcats on Saturday. Donino came on in the sixth inning as Arizona led 4-1 after scoring all of its runs in the fifth. The Avon, Conn. native held the Wildcats scoreless while his teammates rallied with two runs in the sixth and another five in the seventh to notch the win. In the rubber match of the series on Sunday, Donino came out of the pen with two on and nobody out in the eighth, posting two outs with one strikeout to get Columbia out of the jam.
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.
Captains Make It Happen
Columbia seniors Alex Black, Tim Giel and Nick Ferraresi will serve as Columbia's captains in the 2013 season. All three are All-Ivy League players and vocal leaders on and off the diamond.
Ferraresi Has Class
Nick Ferraresi was selected as a candidate for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award. He is one of 30 NCAA baseball student-athletes in the running for the prestigious honor. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
Columbia racked up a variety of preseason accolades prior to kicking off the 2013 season. Among Ivy League players, CollegeBaseballInsider.com named senior outfielder Nick Ferraresi the conference's "most underrated hitter," Nick Crucet the "best baserunner" and Mike Fischer the "best defensive catcher." From a leadership standpoint, Columbia head coach Brett Boretti was picked as the "best game coach." Baseball America also previewed each league and predicted Columbia right-handed pitcher Tim Giel to be the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year.