On the first leg of its spring break road trip through Texas, the baseball team (5-7) dropped three of four games in a closely contested weekend series at the University of Texas at San Antonio (15-6).
The Lions opened up their trip on Friday by jumping on the Roadrunners with a four-run second inning, which featured two-run hits from junior right fielder Gus Craig and senior catcher Mike Fischer.
But senior starter David Speer relinquished that lead by allowing two earned runs in the third inning and another two in the fifth. And after Columbia failed to score off a leadoff double in the top of the ninth inning, senior closer Zack Tax allowed a bases-loaded one-out walk-off single.
After the 5-4 win on Friday, UTSA swept Saturday’s doubleheader by scores of 5-1 and 9-8.
In game one, Roadrunner starter Nolan Trabanino moved to 4-0 on the season after holding Columbia to one run over six innings. And in the nightcap, a 16-hit performance by the Light Blue wasn’t enough to overcome sophomore righty Adam Cline’s tough start. He allowed six earned runs in just four innings.
The offense was highlighted by sophomore Logan Boyher’s four hits and three RBIs, capping off his 6-for-8 day at the dish as a first baseman in game one and catcher in game two.
Sophomore leftfielder Robb Paller contributed three hits and two RBIs, including a one-out RBI double in the seventh, which closed what was once a 9-3 deficit to 9-8. But reliever Matt Sims entered the game for the Roadrunners and allowed just one hit the rest of the way to seal the UTSA victory.
While head coach Brett Boretti was disappointed in his team’s wasted opportunities at the plate—the Lions left 12 runners stranded on base in game two—he was pleased with its performance.
“Gus Craig and Robb Paller had some big hits and Boyher had a real big day for us,” he said. “We’re putting together more consistent at bats. Just over 10 games in and guys feel a little more comfortable with their swings and their approach.”
The Lions salvaged the series finale on Sunday behind a sparkling performance from sophomore starter Kevin Roy. He allowed two runs, only one earned, and three hits in 7.2 innings, leading Columbia to a 4-2 victory.
“Kevin Roy pitched real well today,” Boretti said. “Limiting that team to three hits is a big deal. They’re a good club, a regional team last year, and they can swing it.”
Junior centerfielder Jordan Serena’s 3-for-3 day at the plate and Paller’s two RBIs led the offensive charge for Columbia.
While his team has shown progress offensively, Boretti said he still has a lot to look for in the remaining five games of this Texas swing.
“Offensively, we still need to find our identity,” he said. “We’re probably not going to be as much of a running team as we have been in the past. We’re going to have to find out a little more about what we are going to be able to do with our baserunning.”
Columbia will climb north through Texas over the next few days, stopping at Texas A&M for a 7:35 p.m. game on Tuesday and the University of Texas at Arlington at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.