Update: The games against Brown have been rescheduled for Monday. The games against Yale have been rescheduled for Tuesday.
The baseball team (6-12) aced its final test before the start of Ivy League play thanks to a dominant effort on the mound, as five pitchers combined to toss a four-hit shutout in a 4-0 win at Army (14-7).
Sophomore lefty Thomas Crispi and first-year lefty Ryan Marks allowed just two hits in the first 5.1 innings, while sophomore Willis Robbins, senior Zack Tax, and junior Mike Weisman gave up just two hits the rest of the way.
“We had the opportunity to run a bunch of guys out there, and everybody responded really well,” head coach Brett Boretti said. “It was another opportunity to see Marks and Robbins, who we only saw once on spring break, but we’ve seen some good progress.”
The Light Blue got on the board in the second inning when sophomore designated hitter Robb Paller lined a single to left to drive in his team-leading 16th run of the year, which is also one RBI shy of the league lead.
Senior catcher Mike Fischer put the game away in the ninth, as he doubled Columbia’s lead to 4-0 on a two-run single. Sophomore first baseman Nick Maguire led the offensive charge for the Lions with a career-high four hits.
Boretti said he was impressed by his team’s ability to create opportunities, as the Lions racked up 20 base runners in the game.
Last night’s game against the Black Knights was Columbia’s first in the cold Northeast weather this year. It was originally scheduled for Wednesday night, but was pushed back due to weather.
The elements will also postpone the start of the Light Blue’s Ivy League title defense. Columbia’s first conference doubleheaders against Brown and Yale were pushed back to Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Last year, Columbia swept its four games at Yale and Brown to begin a 14-2 stretch in conference play that would lead to its Lou Gehrig Division crown. This season, Yale (7-9) and Brown (4-6) currently have the best records in the Red Rolfe Division.
“Both teams are improved this year,” Boretti said. “They both are deeper on the hill and have had some nice wins early.”
Brown, coming off a victory at William & Mary in a 16-15 slugfest on Monday, is led by junior infielder Dan Kerr, who sports a .343 average—the sixth-best mark in the league. First-year pitcher Christian Taugner has emerged as the ace of the Bears’ staff after three starts. He has allowed just three earned runs and boasts the league’s second-best ERA with a 1.23 mark.
After going 1-3 against Holy Cross last weekend, the Bulldogs have dropped four of their last five. Yale’s offense features senior infielder Jacob Hunter, whose .354 batting average and .563 slugging percentage rank fourth and fifth in the league, respectively.
According to Boretti, the Lions’ rotation will have senior David Speer and sophomore George Thanopoulos starting against Brown on Sunday. Senior Joey Donino and sophomore Kevin Roy will face Yale on Monday.
In terms of the closer situation, Boretti is not designating an official pitcher to close out games.
“Tax, Weisman, and [sophomore righty Matt] Robinson will all get some time at the end of games,” he said. “If things continue to work there, it will be a revolving door.”
The doubleheaders will begin at noon at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium on Sunday and Monday.