Columbia baseball (5-9) continued its Texas trip on Tuesday and Wednesday with a pair of losses at Texas A&M (15-8) and the University of Texas at Arlington (7-14).
On Tuesday, the Lions gave the Aggies, ranked 16th in the nation by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, all they could handle, but fell, 8-7, in extra innings.
Junior center fielder Jordan Serena flared a leadoff double on the first pitch of the game, which was aided by some miscommunication in the outfield. The next batter, senior shortstop Aaron Silbar, drove him home, and after the Light Blue loaded the bases, senior catcher Mike Fischer came through with a two-out two-run double to make the lead 3-0.
Columbia extended its lead to 5-1 in the fourth inning when sophomore left fielder Robb Paller launched a two-run blast over the bullpen in right field—the Light Blue's first home run of the season—and the Lions made it to the bottom of the eighth up 7-4.
But after sophomore reliever Thomas Crispi struck out the first two batters he faced, the Aggies staged a rally.
After a double and a walk, Mitchell Nau launched a pinch-hit three-run home run over the left field fence to tie the game. And although Light Blue senior closer Zack Tax retired six of the first seven batters he faced, he eventually allowed a walk-off double in the 11th inning.
On Wednesday at UTA, Columbia looked more like the team that gave up the 7-4 lead to Texas A&M than the one that jumped out to that lead in the first place. The Lions fell behind early and lost, 8-4.
First-year right-hander Ty Wiest lasted one inning in his first collegiate start, allowing four runs—two earned—including a two-run home run to outfielder Matt Shortall that put the Mavericks ahead 2-0 after three batters.
After scoring a pair in the third inning, the Lions got solo blasts in both the fourth and fifth innings—the first-career round trippers for both junior outfielder Gus Craig and sophomore first baseman Nick Maguire. But UTA answered with a run in each of those innings and held on for the win.
Columbia concludes its spring break trip this weekend with a three-game series at the University of Texas, beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Longhorns (16-6) are currently ranked 15th in the nation by Baseball America.
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