CU readies for home opener

Columbia baseball (2-15) has already endured a challenging series of opponents including three nationally ranked squads. After playing their first 17 games on the road, the Lions will host St. John’s University (11-7) at Robertson Field at 3:30 p.m. A win today would provide some positive momentum for this upcoming weekend when Ivy League play kicks off.

The single-game affair will not be an easy one for the Light Blue, who most recently went 1-3 in a four-game set against California State, Northridge on the last leg of a 10-game California road trip. On the opposing side, the Red Storm travels to Morningside Heights fresh off a three-game sweep of Villanova. They swept the Wildcats 19-7, 3-2, and 10-3.

So far this season, St. John’s has demonstrated aggressiveness and power at the plate, boasting a .348 overall team batting average with 15 home runs and 155 RBI. The Lions, who are still cycling freshmen through the lineup and adjusting to the season’s rigorous schedule, have put up inferior numbers. As a team, Columbia possesses a .244 batting average with 55 RBI and four homers.

The Light Blue will have to keep a close eye on Red Storm junior Tim Morris. Morris, who plays both infield and outfield, was recently named Big East Baseball Player of the Week for his performance in St. John’s series against Villanova. Over the three games, he hit .600 (12-20) with a home run and eight RBI. Morris ranks first on the Red Storm and second in the Big East in batting average (.473) and ranks second on the squad in homers and RBI.

Sophomore infielder Greg Hopkins has also been a major catalyst for St. John’s. Hopkins leads the Red Storm in home runs (6), RBI (30), and hits (35) while ranking second on the team in batting average, hitting at a .449 clip. Like Morris, he has started every game this season.
For the Lions, freshman Jon Eisen and senior Mike Roberts have led the pack in hitting with averages of .306 and .299, respectively. Roberts also holds a team-best 20 hits in 67 at-bats.

After today’s action, the Light Blue will return to Robertson Field this weekend with a Saturday doubleheader against Harvard and a Sunday twin bill versus Dartmouth.

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