Baseball Allows 22 Runs in Blowout Loss to Columbia

In Marist’s fifth game in six days, it hosted Columbia on a brisk Wednesday afternoon. The Red Foxes were looking to win their fourth game in a row, however, the Lions have one of the best offenses in the country and it was on full display this game, launching seven home runs in a 22-4 assault on the Red Foxes. 

Sophomore Southpaw John Hacker was given the start in this non-conference matchup, however, despite three consecutive strong appearances, Columbia jumped on Hacker early. Before Marist could even catch its breath, it was trailing big. 

Senior shortstop Andy Blake started the barrage by blasting a two-run home run to left field prior to an out being recorded. And just three batters later, after another Lion reached, junior left fielder Cole Hage smacked another ball in the exact same direction to double the Columbia lead to four.

The Lions would tack on one more to cap off their five-run first, though this was just the beginning, continuing their onslaught the very next inning. 

Blake flexed his strength in the first and showed off his wheels in the second, hitting another long fly ball to center field that was contained by the ballpark but could not be corralled by graduate student Johnny Decker. The Columbia shortstop rounded the bases in a hurry to complete the inside-the-park home run, his second in two innings. This was his ninth home run of the season, tying him for the team lead with senior right fielder Hayden Schott.

Blake finished the game with four hits and extended his hitting streak to nine-game, batting .400 with five home runs during this span. 

However Schott did not want to give up the team’s home run crown and before Marist could even process the previous play, the outfielder hit a towering fly ball to left field for his tenth home run of the season, giving the Lions a quick 7-0 lead.

This game was decided by the third inning, but Columbia was not letting up. In the top of the third, with senior Drake Quinn pitching, sophomore Anton Lazits hit a three-run bomb to left field to give Columbia an even dozen. 

The Red Foxes’ pitching staff was extremely pressed, playing their second-midweek game in two days right after completing a weekend series. Calling their arms depleted would be a massive understatement.

“It definitely puts pressure on the pitching staff. Instead of them throwing it down in the pen, or throwing it in a practice setting, they’re forced to kind of do it on the field because you need the innings,” head coach Lance Ratchford said.

Six Marist pitchers threw against Columbia, with all 22 runs being earned. The game was shortened to just seven innings because of the NCAA mercy rule, as it was anything but a pleasant day for a staff that had been throwing very well over the past few weeks.

“It’s one of those situations where, you know, we’re in the mode of saving pitching and not trying to blow up anything,” Ratchford said.

Columbia was the 25th-ranked offense in the country entering this game and it was abundantly evident why. The Lions scored 22 runs on 23 hits, with at least three runs crossing the plate in each of the first five innings.

“They are a team that was in a regional championship last year and probably has a chance to win a regional this year and go to a super – that’s what a championship offense looks like,” Ratchford said.

As demoralizing as it is, an 18-run loss is the same as a one-run loss in the standings. The Red Foxes were playing better baseball prior to this game and there is little that can be done when faced with a program like Columbia.

“Keep the positive energy, keep that mentality that we’ve had the last couple of days, and just switch our attention to the weekend,” Ratchford said. Not much more can be reiterated to the team, they just have to accept the loss and move on.

Marist returns to action Friday at 4 p.m. when it travels to Pomona, New York to battle Manhattan in a three-game set. Marist is 3-6 in MAAC play, while Manhattan is 4-5, making this a crucial series for both schools.

Edited by Jonathan Kinane

Photo from Marist Athletics via Stockton Photo

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