The baseball team picked up its second consecutive series split of the 2014 season this weekend, taking two of four at Kennesaw State.
Columbia (4-4) fell in a 2-0 pitchers’ duel in Game 1 on Friday, but the Lions bounced back to earn a 9-3 victory in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Though the Light Blue dropped the nightcap, 15-1, Columbia picked up an 8-5, 11-inning victory on Sunday afternoon to finish the series on a high note.
“I think we’re doing some good things. This weekend I feel like our starting pitching was better than last weekend,” Columbia head coach Brett Boretti said. “I think we’re coming together.”
Senior lefty David Speer got the nod for the Light Blue in Game 1, and turned in another great performance. Speer, who tossed eight scoreless innings in the Lions’ season opener last weekend, went eight strong again on Friday, giving up just two runs and no walks.
Despite his strong start, Columbia’s ace was saddled with the loss, as the Lions’ offense couldn’t get anything going against Kennesaw State’s Jordan Hillyer. Hillyer pitched seven scoreless innings and picked up the win for the Owls.
Columbia took the second game of the series behind a late-inning offensive surge. The Lions trailed 3-1 after six, but put up three runs in the top of the seventh and added five more in the top of the ninth to secure a 9-3 victory.
Senior righty Joey Donino got the win, while sophomore righty Adam Cline turned in three innings of nearly spotless relief. Cline earned the save after giving up just one hit and no walks while striking out one.
Things did not go nearly as well for the Lions in a 15-1 loss in the nightcap, as Columbia’s pitchers threw a total of six wild pitches and gave up seven walks.
But the Light Blue rebounded on Sunday, earning an extra-inning victory to salvage a split. Sophomore outfielder Robb Paller paced Columbia’s offense in the win, going three-for-six with four RBIs and knocking in the go-ahead run in the 11th.
“It’s great. I’m really excited for him,” Boretti said of Paller, who missed the 2013 season with a broken leg. “It was tough for him to miss last year, no question. I think he’s worked his way all the way back, and he’s one of our leaders, by example and energy-wise.”
The Lions will be traveling again over spring break, as they head to Texas to take on UT San Antonio, Texas A&M, UT Arlington, and Texas.