College Roundup: Columbia Upsets St. John’s

Columbia baseball has had its moments over the past couple of years, namely in 2015, when the Lions went 3-2 in the Coral Gables Regional, including a win over host Miami.

It’s taken some time for the Lions to find their footing this season. They began 0-10 against a vigorous schedule that included games against Florida, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Tulane and South Alabama.

But Columbia has won five of its past eight games, and on Wednesday night, the Lions secured their biggest win of the season.

How the Top 25 Fared
(1) Oregon State: off
(2) Louisville: off
(3) Texas Christian: off
(4) North Carolina: off
(5) Clemson: off
(6) Texas Tech: off
(7) Auburn: off
(8) Florida: off
(9) Oklahoma: off
(10) Arizona: off
(11) South Carolina: off
(12) Cal State Fullerton: off
(13) Kentucky: off
(14) St. John’s: lost, 7-4, vs. Columbia
(15) Louisiana State: off
(16) Arkansas: swept DH vs. Grand Canyon, 6-1 and 11-2
(17) Wake Forest: PPD at Elon
(18) Florida Gulf Coast: lost, 3-2, at (24) Florida State in five innings
(19) Long Beach State: off
(20) Stanford: off
(21) Southern Mississippi: off
(22) Mississippi State: won, 9-7, vs. Florida International in 10 innings
(23) Virginia: won, 11-1, vs. George Washington
(24) Florida State: won, 3-2, vs. (18) Florida Gulf Coast in five innings
(25) Maryland: off

Facing No. 14 St. John’s on the road, the Lions plated six runs in the first inning—four on a grand slam from sophomore Chandler Bengtson. They’d go on to win, 7-4, dealing the Red Storm (21-3) just its third loss of the season. The Lions improved to 6-15 as they attempt to climb back to .500.

“It’s awesome,” Bengtson said in a video on the Columbia baseball Twitter account. “(An upset it) definitely on your mind when you’re coming in and playing a top 20 team, and it’s even better to beat them at their home park.”

Columbia’s upset win was one of a couple standout performances on a rain-limited Wednesday slate.

In Starkville, Miss., Brent Rooker continued to grab the spotlight for Mississippi State, which rallied back to beat Florida International, 9-7, in walk-off fashion. Rooker hit two two-run home runs, including the walk-off shot to will the Bulldogs to victory.

The homers were No. 11 and No. 12 for Rooker on the season, who has been on an offensive rampage. The junior is batting .436/.524/.949 and has the highest slugging percentage and most RBIs (50) in the country.

“Brent Rooker may be the best college baseball player in the nation,” head coach Andy Cannizaro told hailstate.com “He is certainly the best hitter right now.”

In Tallahassee, Florida State wrapped up a much-needed two-game midweek series sweep of Florida Gulf Coast, winning, 3-2, in a rain-shortened five-inning game. The Seminoles rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fourth to seal the win.

The two wins for FSU came after getting swept by North Carolina at home, and the Seminoles will try to bring Wednesday’s momentum to Raleigh for a three-game set with North Carolina State. Florida Gulf Coast, meanwhile, dropped its fourth-straight game, cooling down after winning 10 games a row. The Eagles will travel to Stetson this weekend.

Only two other Top 25 teams were in action Wednesday—Arkansas and Virginia. The Razorbacks swept a doubleheader against Grand Canyon, while Virginia blew past George Washington, 11-1.

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