Dartmouth Falls in Two as Columbia Defends Ivy League Title
NEW YORK CITY — Columbia got strong starts from David Speer and Kevin Roy, and David Vandercook homered in both games to help the Lions defeat the Dartmouth baseball team in the Ivy League Championship Series, 6-2 and 4-1. This is the second straight year Dartmouth (18-21) succumbed to the Lions (27-17) at Columbia’s Robertson Field at Satow Stadium.
Sophomore right-hander Duncan Robinson deserved a better fate for the Big Green in game two as he set career-highs with seven strikeouts in 7.2 innings of work. All three runs he surrendered were unearned, and the Lions mustered just three hits against him.
But Columbia’s Kevin Roy (5-4) was just as effective in six innings on the mound, yielding just a single run on three hits while walking two and striking out one. Dartmouth touched him for that run in the bottom of the third when junior Thomas Roulis lined a two-out single to left-center to score junior Matt Parisi, who led off the inning with a single of his own.
In the top of the fourth, Will Savage reached on an error to give the Lions an opening, which they took advantage of when Aaron Silbar stroked an RBI single to center — the first Columbia hit — with two down. Gus Craig then worked the count to 2-2 before golfing a pitch off his shoetops over the fence in right for his fifth home run of the year and a 3-1 lead.
After Roulis’ run-scoring single in the third, Roy 10 of the next 11 hitters as the score remained 3-1 through six stanzas. Robinson recorded the first two outs in the seventh and had a 1-2 count on Nick Maguire when lightning, followed by rain, delayed the game for 46 minutes. When play resumed, Robinson needed just one pitch to retire Maguire on a fly to right.
Columbia did not send Roy back to the mound after sitting for about an hour, so left-hander Thomas Crispi was summoned from the bullpen. The Big Green got back-to-back singles by Nick Lombardi and Bo Patterson to start the inning, and a sacrifice bunt by junior Matt MacDowell put the tying runs in scoring position. But Crispi was able to get the final two outs without a run crossing the plate.
Robinson (7-3) was lifted with two outs in the eighth after his string of 12 straight batters retired ended on a Jordan Serena single. Senior Louis Concato came on and got the final out, but Vandercook launched his fifth homer of the year on the first pitch in the ninth to provide the Lions with an insurance run it turned out not to need.
George Thanopoulos, who closed out the first game, came on again to get the last five outs for his second save and clinch the second straight Ivy League title for Columbia.
In the first game, Speer (7-2) contained the Big Green offense in his eight-plus innings, yielding just two runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts to tie for the league lead in victories. Dartmouth did strike in the first inning, however, taking a 1-0 lead on doubles by sophomore Nick Ruppert and senior Dustin Selzer, ending Speer’s scoreless streak at 23 innings.
The Lions answered in the bottom half on an RBI double by Vandercook to score Savage.
As in the second game, Columbia took the lead with a three-run fourth. Robb Paller led off with his third home run of the year to give the Lions the lead, and Silbar followed with a double off the fence in center field. An infield pop to short was lost in the sun and dropped for a hit, and a balk by freshman Mike Concato (2-3) put both runners in scoring position. Maguire lofted a sacrifice fly to score one run, and John Kinne lined a two-out RBI single for a 4-1 Lion lead.
Dartmouth got a run back in the fifth when Lombardi ripped a lead-off double, took third on an Adam Gauthier single just out of the reach of a diving Silbar at short, and scored on a hard grounder to third by Parisi. When senior Jeff Keller followed with a solid single to left, Gauthier was gunned down at the plate as he could not touch home plate on his slide. Catcher Mike Fischer applied the tag for the third out as the umpire waited for the play to complete, keeping the Columbia lead at two runs, 4-2.
In the bottom half, Vandercook quickly boosted the lead back to three by greeting sophomore reliever Michael Danielak with a solo blast on a full-count pitch.
Palled provided an insurance run with a double in the seventh to score Serena, who had started the inning with a single.
Speer plunked Roulis on an 0-2 pitch to start the ninth, so Columbia called upon Thanopoulos to get the final three outs. Selzer laced a single to center, but that was all the Big Green could do as Thanopoulos retired the next three batters to close out the Lion win.
Columbia earns the Ivy League’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and regional pairings will be announced on May 26.