Lions Clinch Spot In ILPS; Sweep Weekend At Cornell

ITHACA, NY β€” Postseason ticket punched!!

Columbia Baseball (26-13, 16-2 IVY) clinched a spot in the Ivy League Playoff Series with its weekend sweeping 11-5 victory over Cornell (9-23, 4-14 IVY), extending its nation’s consecutive winning stretch to 19 games in the final game of the 100-year-old Hoy Field on Sunday, May 1.

The Lions head to the Ivy League Playoff Series (May 21-22) for the ninth time in program history, and eighth time under head coach Brett Boretti. It’s also the third straight Ivy League Playoff Series appearance for the Lions, having won the 2018 series and played in the 2019 series.

With the win, the Lions have now swept five straight Ivy League weekends, and their straight league winning stretch is extended to 15 games.

Sean Higgins gave us a great start and the bullpen (Griffin Palfrey and Derek Yoo) and defense were very good,” said Boretti. We got off to a quick start on offense. Great way to start May and head into the exam break.”

Columbia finished off Cornell thanks to a first inning grand slam from Hayden Schottwho went 2-for-4 on the day, a 3-for-3 2 BB performance from Joshua Solomon and a combined 5-for-9 from the top two Columbia hitters, Cole Hage and Andy Blake. The Lions also again were strong in the field, going errorless for the sixth time in seven games, helping winning starter Sean Higgins (3-3) operate with confidence in his defense.

The Lions also got a pair of stolen bases from Solomon, Blake’s second triple of the weekend and a combined five innings of three hit, two run work out of the pen from Griffin Palfrey and Derek Yoo. Early scoring and solid middle of the game pitching meant the Lions locked up a spot back in the Ivy League Playoff Series.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Columbia wasted little time getting the scoring started, with the first three Lions reaching safely to set up Schott’s first inning grand slam. Hage opened the game with a double to left, and Blake smacked a single to right before Tyler MacGregor walked to load the bases.

Schott then took his spot in the batter’s box with one out, and he did what he has done all year long, he jumped on the first pitch. Smashing his league-leading 11th home run of the season to right center and the first grand slam hit by a Lion since 2019, and it quickly put Columbia in the lead, 4-0.

Following a 1-2-3 inning of work by Higgins, Columbia came out and added another four runs in the second, led off by a pair of singles by Solomon and Austin Mowrey, to go along with Hage’s walk, once again loading the bases. This time Blake stepped up to the dish and he took a 1-1 pitch into left center field, which banged off the wall and got away from the fielder, clearing the bases and giving Blake a three RBI triple.

Blake would be plated on an error by the Cornell second basemen that allowed Weston Eberly to reach and after the opening two frames, Columbia led 8-0.

The Big Red got a run in the bottom half of the second and two in the bottom half of the third to get the score to 8-3, but Higgins settled in, sitting down the Cornell lineup to get through the fourth. In the fifth, Palfrey took the bump and began his three innings of scoreless work over the heart of the game, allowing the Lions to pad their lead.

In the sixth, the Lions got a pair of runs on two walks from Blake and MacGregor and an error by the catcher to score the two Lions putting Columbia in double digits with the score now at 10-3 after six innings.

With two outs in the eighth inning, Columbia tacked on one more run, and the rally was started with a double from Schott. Jacob Phelps pinch hit for Anton Lazits and immediately swapped spots with Schott, scoring the Lion right fielder with a double down the left field line to make it 11-3.

A Cornell two-run home run in the right resulted in the final two runs for the Big Red, but at the bottom of the ninth Yoo, who had come in to start the eighth, shut down Cornell in order. With a groundout to Blake at short, Columbia won its 19th straight game and closed the door on Hoy Field by punching its ticket to the Ivy League Playoff Series.

GAME NOTES:

– Columbia has won 19 straight games…
– The 19-game winning streak adds to the program record…
– The old record of 15 straight games had been set during the 2014 season …
– The Lions are alone in the nation with the longest current winning streak…
– The Lions have won 15 straight Ivy League games…
– Columbia has now swept five-straight Ivy League weekends…
– Columbia now has 56 home runs on the season, setting a program record
– The Lions now sit the fifth all-time in program history with 26 wins so far this season…
– Columbia has scored 324 runs so far this season, placing them third all-time in program history for team runs scored in a single season…
– With 286 RBIs, Columbia sits fourth all-time in program history for RBIs in a single season …
– The Lions stole three bases, giving them 71 on the season and they now sit tied for fourth in program history for stolen bases in a single season …
– Columbia now sits fourth all-time in program history with 277 runs batted in so far this season…
– Schott’s 11th home run places him tied for eighth all-time in program history for home runs in a single season…
– Hage has reached base in all 36 games he has played in …
Andy Blake now has an 18-game hitting streak…
– Blake is tied with Eberly for the team-lead in triples with four …

UP NEXT: The Lions get the next weekend off before wrapping up the regular season with a trip to Dartmouth, with the Saturday, May 14 doubleheader set to get going at 11:30 am and the Sunday, May 15 single game scheduled for 12 pm

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).

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