Baseball kept Cornell off the scoreboard for all but two innings this weekend as the Lions' arms once again propelled them to a weekend sweep.
Columbia (21-15, 13-3 Ivy) posted shutout victories in each of the first three games, and took the second game of Sunday's twin bill, 8-4. The Lions' starters were particularly impressive against Cornell (15-19, 6-10 Ivy), giving up a total of one earned run in a combined 25 innings of work. With the sweep, the Light Blue moved into a tie with Penn (22-14, 13-3 Ivy) atop the Lou Gehrig Division going into next weekend's showdown.
“We're getting great starting pitching, first and foremost,” Columbia head coach Brett Boretti said. “All four guys this weekend did a great job throwing strikes. We had an errorless weekend defensively. Those are the combinations—you're gonna win a lot of games when you're doing that.”
As he has done throughout the conference season, 2013 All-Ivy First Teamer David Speer set the tone in the series opener. The Lions were only able to plate one run in the game, but that proved to be all the support that the senior lefty would need. Speer went the distance, giving up three hits and no walks while striking out seven in seven innings of work in the 1-0 Columbia win.
“He knows his stuff, and he's extremely smart,” Boretti said of his ace. “Him and [senior catcher] Mike Fischer do a great job calling the game together.”
Sophomore righty George Thanopoulos picked up where Speer left off in game 2 on Saturday, holding the Big Red scoreless and striking out seven through six before handing it over to the bullpen. Sophomore lefty Thomas Crispi turned in three innings of scoreless relief as the Lions cruised to an 8-0 win.
Columbia's offensive production dipped in Sunday's first game, but sophomore righty Kevin Roy's performance on the hill more than made up for it. Roy tossed a complete-game one-hitter in a 2-0 Columbia victory.
And in the series finale, senior righty Joey Donino put his struggles in Ancient Eight play behind him. Donino gave up three runs—only one of them earned—while striking out seven in five innings of work.
“Joe Donino did an outstanding job today [Sunday],” Boretti said. “He got behind early, and it was unfortunate—they struck a guy out, and the ball got away on a passed ball that extended the inning. That would have been the third out, and they ended up getting a couple runs after that. He buckled down, and really gave us a great effort.”
Sophomore righty Adam Cline gave up the Lions' only other run of the weekend in the bottom of the sixth, but was otherwise solid in his three innings, and junior lefty Mike Weisman tossed a scoreless ninth to seal Columbia's 8-4 win.
The Lions have now won 13 in a row—a program record. In addition to being tied with the Quakers for the division lead, Columbia is only one game behind Penn for the Ivy League's best record overall.
“We're playing loose, and we're playing well,” Boretti said. “Having a lot of fun right now. The guys are doing a great job.”
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