HOUSTON — Columbia and No. 6 Houston played a pair of exciting games in a doubleheader that lasted more than eight hours. The Lions (1-2) defeated the Cougars (8-3) 5-4 in 13 innings in Game 1, but fell 8-7 on a walk-off sacrifice fly in game Game 2,
Game 1: Columbia 5, Houston 4 (13)
The Lions opened the scoring in the second with a leadoff double by Gus Craig.
Joey Falcone led off the seventh inning and took the first pitch he saw over the centerfield wall to make it 3-0.
The Cougars got all three runs back in the bottom of the eighth. A leadoff single, walk and another base hit loaded the bases. After a strikeout, Jacob Campbell cleared the base paths with a double to the gap in left center.
The score remained that way until Columbia broke through in the 13th. An error allowed Robb Paller to reach first to open the door. A walk and fielder’s choice set up Kanemaru’s clutch single through the left side to give the Lions the lead once again. A passed ball later in the inning brought in Nick Maguire to make it 5-3.
Houston’s Ashford Fullmer began the bottom of the frame with a single and Campbell followed with another double to put runners on second and third. Columbia conceded one run on a groundout, but the tying run moved within 90 feet with one away. However, Brett Gannaway buckled down and induced a fly out and ground out to pick up the save.
Kevin Roy pitched six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out four. Bryce Barr picked up the win in relief.
Craig finished the early contest 2-for-5 and was the only Columbia player with multiple hits.
Game 2: Houston 8, Columbia 7
The Lions went to work right away in the nightcap. Jordan Serena took a 1-1 pitch down the rightfield line to kick things off and the next batter, David Vandercook, belted his first homer of the season.
In the bottom of the third, starting pitcher Mike Weisman issued back-to-back walks. A sacrifice bunt pushed both runners into scoring position. With two away and the bases loaded after the third walk of the inning, Josh Vidales laced a triple to bring in all three runners. A throwing error led to Vidales coming in to extend the lead to 4-2. However, Columbia had an answer in their next turn.
With Maguire on first, Kanemaru legged out an infield single and both runners advanced on an overthrow by the Cougars’ third baseman. Falcone made Houston with a two-run base knock to tie the score and moved all the way to third on the second error of the inning. John Kinne put the Lions back in front, 5-4, with an RBI infield single.
The Cougars struck again in the fifth. Campbell started the inning with a double, but Weisman recorded the next two outs. However, Connor Wong added a two-bagger, leveling the score again.
Moving into the seventh, the Lions grinded out a pair of runs to go back in front. Logan Boyher drew a leadoff walk and Serena picked up his second hit of the game. Vandercook was plunked to fill the base paths and Boyher came in on a passed ball.
Craig hit a fly ball deep enough in right to score Serena, giving Columbia a 7-5 cushion.
Houston put the first two batters on base in the bottom half of the seventh. With one out, Kyle Survance stole third base to put runners on the corners. Survance cut the deficit in half after relief pitcher Zach Bahm misfired on a pickoff throw to first base.
Bahm did strand two runners to end the seventh, but the Cougars rallied again in the eighth. A hit batter and sacrifice put the tying run on second. With two down, Survance singled up the middle and pinch runner Robert Grilli was waved home. Serena came up firing from centerfield, leading to a bang-bang play at home. However, Grilli was called safe after a race to the plate and the score was tied 7-7.
In the bottom of the ninth, the first three batters all reached to load the bases with no outs. After a force play at the plate, pinch hitter Justin Mortemayor ended the game with a sacrifice fly.
Falcone finished up 2-for-4 from the plate.
Weisman lasted five innings in his first start of the year. Matthew Ratner took the decision (0-1).