HANOVER, N.H. — CHAMPIONS!!
With a 6-4 win in the first game of Sunday’s impromptu doubleheader, second game of the weekend, Columbia Baseball (27-15, 17-4 IVY) clinched a share of the Ivy League title, but a late comeback from Dartmouth in the final game of the regular season cost the Lions a chance of hosting the Ivy League Playoff Series as the 12-11 loss in 10 innings gave Columbia and Penn identical records, and a share of the Ivy League title as Columbia wrapped up the regular season at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park.
Columbia Baseball now lays claim to 15 Ivy League Championships, winning their first since 2018 and this is the sixth under current head coach Brett Boretti.
🏆 CHAMPIONS 🏆
— Columbia Baseball (@CULionsBaseball) May 15, 2022
The Lions will now head to Penn this weekend for a best two-out-of-three series starting with a single game on Saturday, May 21 and a if necessary doubleheader on Sunday, May 22 with the second game of the day only being played if both teams split the opening pair of contests.
This is the third straight season that Columbia will head to the Ivy League Playoff series and a win in the series would punch Columbia’s ticket to the NCAA College Baseball Regionals.
“This weekend at Dartmouth was a real good battle,” said Boretti. “I feel our guys responded well to coming off exams and we played hard and had our opportunities to win the series. Dartmouth found a way to get it done. The atmosphere this weekend was a playoff type atmosphere. The experience will help us prepare for the Ivy playoff at Penn.”
Columbia got great pitching from Sean Higgins (4-3) who took over the pitching duties in the restarted second game of the weekend, pitching all remaining innings, giving up one run on five hits in a winning performance that locked up the Ivy League title for Columbia. The Lions also got a strong 3.1 innings of scoreless two-hit work out of the pen from Saajan May in the third game.
At the dish, Weston Eberly had a great weekend hitting .556 with a double and a triple while knocking in two runs and in the leadoff spot Cole Hage continued to be the spark in the Columbia offense, hitting .467 with a home run, five RBIs and three doubles. Tyler MacGregor (.462) and Joshua Solomon (.417) each great weekends in the box as well, with Solomon smacking a pair of doubles and MacGregor stealing a base and adding a double of his own.
Overall, the Lions hit a solid .342 over the weekend, hitting three home runs while slugging a respectable .521. But Dartmouth’s late game heroics in the final game gave the Big Green the weekend series win, despite the Lions winning the Ivy title.
HOW IT HAPPENED (GAME ONE): The second game of the weekend began on Saturday, May 14 but weather forced the game to be suspended and picked up after four innings on Sunday. The game begun with Andy Leon, who gave Columbia a strong four innings of five hit work, and in the opening frame the Lions scored to jump on Dartmouth 1-0.
The Lions got a leadoff double from Hage, who came around to score on a MacGregor single through the left side and it gave them a quick one run lead. Dartmouth would get the run back in the bottom of the first, but that would be it for the Big Green until the fourth inning.
In-between Dartmouth’s runs, and Leon’s strong pitching, Columbia added to its lead, and it started in the third when Austin Mowrey led off the frame by being hit by a pitch. Mowrey would come into score on Hage’s second double of the game, making it 2-0 Columbia.
Two more runs were scored, capped off by a double down the left field line by Solomon which put the score at 4-1 after three innings. In the fourth, Columbia got another run thanks to Skye Selinsky smacking a single to left to lead things off, he was moved over on a wild pitch and came around to score on an Anton Lazits single to center field.
In the fourth, Dartmouth got two runs on a two-run home run and following the final out of the inning the game entered a weather delay. Due to the surrounding lightning the decision was made to pick things up the next morning at the top of the fifth with Columbia leading 5-3.
The next morning Columbia came out and got right back to scoring, padding its lead thanks to a Eberly leadoff walk to get things started. With one out, Selinsky again cashed in, smacking a double to left center to score Eberly and make it 6-3.
From there Higgins took over, quickly bouncing back from giving up a leadoff single to strike out a pair of Dartmouth batters and over the five innings of work the Lion senior only gave up five hits. Higgins got some help from the Columbia defense, with Dartmouth threating in the eighth and a run already across, making it 6-4, Higgins got the Dartmouth batter to roll over on a pitch sending it to third where Jacob Phelps began the 5-4-3 inning ending double play to end any Dartmouth chances of coming back.
And after battling through a leadoff single, Higgins got the final three outs in the ninth to wrap up the 6-4 win, lock up Columbia’s share of the Ivy title and give the ions another trophy for the case.
— Columbia Baseball (@CULionsBaseball) May 15, 2022
HOW IT HAPPENED (GAME TWO): After Columbia’s win in the restarted second game, Columbia came out as Ivy Champions with a shot at the outright title and host of the Ivy League Playoff Series. Dartmouth got on the board first, scoring in the first inning but Columbia’s starter, Griffin Palfrey settled in en route to a solid 3.2 innings of work.
Palfrey would retire the Dartmouth hitters in order over the next two innings, giving Columbia a chance at taking the lead, which they did on two runs in top of the third. The runs came on a pair of wild pitches that advanced both Andy Blake, who reached on a walk, and MacGregor who singled to left and on the second wild pitch Blake crossed the plate.
MacGregor then scored on a Hayden Schott sacrifice fly to left making it 2-1 Columbia after three frames. An RBI single from Eberly, that scored Blake who had singled to left with one out, put the Lions up 3-1. But in the bottom of the fourth, Dartmouth scored three runs to pass the Lions and retake the lead at 4-3.
Mowrey tied the game up with a solo blast to left in the fifth and in the top of the sixth Blake smashed one down the left line which flew over the wall and put the Lions back in front 5-4. Columbia was not done in the fifth, scoring four more runs on RBI singles from Schott, Solomon and Hage and after five innings the Lions lead 9-4.
In the eighth Columbia tacked on one more when Phelps scored on a fielder’s choice that gave Blake his second RBI of the game. But baseball is a tough game and getting the final outs can be considered one of the toughest things to do in sports and Dartmouth proved that over the final two frames.
Scoring four in the eighth, Dartmouth put themselves in position to comeback on the Lions. And with two outs and a full count, Dartmouth’s Nathan Cmeyla finished the comeback, hitting a two-run home run that tied things up at 10-10 and pushed the game into extra innings.
The Lions did get a run to open the 10th inning, getting another RBI single from Hage to make it 11-10. But the final three outs were out of Columbia’s reach as Dartmouth scored a pair of runs on three-straight one-out singles to walk-off the game and take the final regular season game, 12-11.
– The title is the 15th Ivy League title in program history …
– This is the sixth title won under head coach Brett Boretti …
– Columbia now has 59 home runs on the season, setting a program record
– The Lions now sit fifth all-time in program history with 27 wins so far this season …
– Columbia has scored runs 349 so far this season, setting a program record …
– The Lions set a program record in doubles, smacking 103 over the course of the season …
– With 309 RBIs, Columbia sits second all-time in program history for RBIs in a single season …
– The Lions set a program record in doubles for a single season, hitting 103 this season …
– Hayden Schott finishes the Ivy League season tied for first in both home runs hit (8) and total bases (67) in a single Ivy League season …
– Eberly’s fifth triple moves him into a tie for third all-time in program history …
– Hage has reached base in all 40 games he has played in and sits just three away from tying the single-season program record …
– Both Schott and MacGregor have 16 doubles this season which ties them for fifth all-time in program history …
UP NEXT: Columbia’s season continues with a trip to Penn for the Ivy League Playoff Series’ best-of-three weekend series with a spot in the NCAA Regionals as the prize of winning the series. The opening game is set for Saturday, May 21 and the second and third (if necessary) games set for Sunday, May 22.
FOLLOWING THE LIONS: Stay up to date on all things Columbia Baseball by following the Lions on Twitter (@CULionsBaseball), Instagram (@culionsbaseball) and on Facebook (@ColumbiaAthletics).