LIVINGSTON, NJ - It was only time that Columbia's baseball team was going to win a game.
The Cougars lost a 3-2 heartbreaker last weekend in extra innings to West Orange and then lost to a tough Montclair earlier this week to go 0-4 on the young season.
So maybe it was just about time that Columbia was going to get a W and unfortunately for Livingston they would be the team that would see the Cougars’ offense break out.
Columbia took a 4-0 lead in the first inning and in the end would not relinquish it en route to a 12-10 victory over the Lancers in Livingston on Wednesday in a Super Essex Conference American division battle. The Lancers dropped to 3-2 on the season.
Leading the way offensively for the Cougars was senior third baseman Nick Rego who went 3-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored. "It's great," said Rego about finally getting a win. "We lost a couple of close games and this was a good win against a quality team."
Rego's home run came in the top of the third inning off of Livingston starting pitcher Taylor Parsons. "It was a fastball up and I just took it," said Rego.
Both Parsons and Columbia starting pitcher Louis Kraham struggled on the mound.
Along with Rego, the Cougars received contributions from first baseman Jake Pomper, who went 3-for-4 with a double, triple, two RBI and two runs while Louis Kraham (3-for-5), Sean Tamayo (2-for-3) and Brandon Spears (3-for-4) registered two RBI each.
For Livingston, it was the second loss in back-to-back days. The Lancers lost 10-5 to Millburn on Tuesday.
Livingston Head Coach Scott Schroeder said that his team had its chances to catch Columbia but left too many men on base. "They opened the door and we didn't take advantage of it," Schroeder said.
Offensively, Schroeder and the Lancers received some good performances especially from shortstop Jordan Farber, who was 3-for-3 with double, triple, two runs and two RBI. Livingston third baseman Jack Dock was 2-for-2 with four RBI and designated hitter Doug Bresnick was 1-for-3 with two runs and two RBI.
Despite the loss, Livingston is 3-2 when they take on another tough team in Seton Hall Prep on Friday. The Cougars have back-to-back games at Roxbury on Thursday at 4 p.m. and Johnson in the Roselle Park Fathers Club Tournament on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Cougars brought their bats on Wednesday as they more than doubled their run total for the first three games. In the first four games Columbia scored only 10 runs.
On Wednesday Livingston was playing catch-up the entire three hours from when Columbia scored four runs in the first inning. The Lancers had several opportunities but could not take advantage of it.
Finally Cougars top pitcher Jim Murphy came in relief to put away the Lancers as Murphy struck out the Lancers‘ Bresnick who represented the game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
It was a tough day for Lancers junior pitcher Parsons who was hit hard in his 4 1/3 innings as Livingston was behind 8-6 when Lancers relief pitcher Nick Striglia came on to pitch.
"It was his first varsity start," said Schroeder about Parsons, who got a win in relief earlier in the season. "There was no movement on the ball and it was flat."
For Columbia head baseball coach Larry Busichio he knows he has a young team with the few seniors on the team in Rego and Murphy. "We've played some good teams, the best in the state," said Busichio. "We'll get it going."
The closest that Livingston got to Columbia came in the bottom of the fourth inning when the Lancers put three runs across to slice the Cougars lead to 7-6.
But Columbia fired back with three runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 10-6 lead.