Updated April 1 at 11:58 p.m.
It was April Fools’ Day at Robertson Field and the Yale pitchers played their part, fooling Columbia hitters all afternoon long on their way to a doubleheader sweep. The Bulldogs (9-11, 2-2 Ivy) overpowered the Lions (8-14, 2-2 Ivy) 3-0 in game 1 and 4-1 in game 2, allowing only eight hits and one walk along the way.
The Light Blue entered the doubleheader with nine straight wins against Ivy League opponents and five straight wins against Yale, but both streaks came to a screeching halt in Tuesday’s games as clear blue skies turned overcast by day’s end.
Yale righty Chris Lanham shut down Columbia’s bats in the seven-inning first game using his dynamic breaking ball. Lanham had a perfect game through four innings, faced only one batter over the minimum, and needed just 62 pitches to toss the three-hit shutout.
The Lions had singles to lead off the fifth and sixth innings by sophomore first baseman Nick Maguire and senior catcher Mike Fischer, respectively, but Maguire was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double and Fischer was erased after junior third baseman David Vandercook grounded into a double play on the next pitch in a three-pitch sixth inning for Lanham.
Senior righty Joey Donino was dominant early for Columbia against the Bulldogs, striking out the side with nine pitches in the first inning. In total, he struck out nine and allowed only five hits in six innings.
But Yale managed to string together a three-run third inning. Catcher Robert Baldwin lined a RBI double over leftfielder Robb Paller’s head to give Yale the lead. Baldwin scored on a balk that resulted from a poorly executed fake-to-third, throw-to-first attempt. Shortstop Cale Hanson followed with another RBI double to give the Bulldogs their third and final run.
“My stuff felt good,” Donino said. “I lost command a little bit, throwing the curveball for a strike [in the third inning], and that probably hurt me because they were sitting fastball.”
Columbia sophomore righty Kevin Roy and Yale lefty David Hickey were locked in a pitchers’ duel after four scoreless innings of game 2.
Despite missing their leading hitter—first baseman Jacob Hunter, who appeared to have injured his shoulder after diving back into first base on a pickoff play in the third inning of the first game—the Bulldogs once again strung together a rally, this time in the fifth inning. Right fielder David Toups, centerfielder Green Campbell, and third baseman Tom O’Neill all doubled to give Yale a 2-0 lead. In the eighth inning, Toups lined an RBI triple into the right field corner and scored on a wild pitch to double the lead for the Bulldogs.
Roy and sophomore righty Adam Cline’s outings were similar to Donino’s, as the two combined for 11 strikeouts and allowed all their runs in a single inning.
“Both starters did what they needed to do to put us in a successful position,” head coach Brett Boretti said, referring to Roy and Donino.
But Columbia’s bats did not oblige, as Hickey allowed just three hits in seven shutout innings. After a walk to leadoff the eighth inning, Hickey was relieved by righty Chris Moates, who hit a batter to put two on with nobody out, but Moates induced a double-play grounder from junior center fielder Jordan Serena to quell the threat. After a double from Maguire put two in scoring position with nobody out for the Lions, Columbia managed to score one run, but no more.
“Both of their starters weren’t power-fastball guys and didn’t have exceptionally good stuff, I didn’t think,” Fischer said. “But they did a good job of making us get ourselves out. It was more about our approach.”
Boretti thought the Lions had a better opportunity to do damage against Yale pitching in game 2, but said they needed to do a better job at staying back to hit the slew of off-speed pitches they received in both games.
After sweeping Brown and dropping a pair to Yale, Columbia sits in fourth place in the Lou Gehrig Division.
The Lions will head on the road to face Dartmouth and Harvard next weekend.