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Up for Grabs: Dartmouth Baseball Surges; Softball Stumbles

Big Green Baseball Surges While Softball Stumbles

  • Dartmouth College catcher Adam Gauthier leads the intrasquad handshake line Saturday after the visiting Big Green swept Harvard in Boston. The result kept Gauthier and his mates alive in the race for their ninth consecutive Ivy League Rolfe Division title. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

  • Dartmouth College softball players await the arrival of coach Shannon Doepking for a postgame meeting Saturday in the outfield at Harvard. From left, Morgan McCalmon, Kelsey Miller, Taylor Ward, Chloe Madill and Alyssa Jorgensen. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

  • Dartmouth College’s Lourlin Lara shows her teammates and coach Shannon Doepking, right, what they describe as the “eat ‘em up” display Saturday after tripling at Harvard. The Crimson swept the teams’ Ivy League doubleheader, however, and comes to Hanover today needing only one victory to win the Ivy League’s North Division. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)



Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, April 30, 2016

 

 

Boston — The Dartmouth College baseball and softball teams played alongside each other Saturday at Harvard’s Soldier’s Road Athletic Complex. The programs are trending in opposite directions, however, as their regular seasons each conclude today with home doubleheaders against the Crimson.

 

The Big Green hardballers swept by 3-1 and 2-1 scores. Starting pitchers Duncan Robinson and Beau Sulser were outstanding and Dartmouth’s quest for its ninth consecutive Rolfe Division title remains alive. Yale, which entered the day leading the division, was swept by visiting Brown. Should the Big Green win two games against the Crimson in Hanover today, it would win the division title for the ninth consecutive year.

 

Split the two games and Dartmouth would travel to Yale for a one-game playoff May 6 to decide the division winner.

 

Events didn’t unfold as well for the Big Green softball team, which despite beginning its league season 12-0, must sweep Harvard today to clinch its fourth consecutive North Division title. Saturday’s losses, by 4-3 and 6-5 scores, were Dartmouth’s fourth and fifth in its last six games.

 

Today’s forecast threatens rain, but Saturday was a beautiful afternoon, albeit somewhat windy, and with markedly different results from one field to the other:

Baseball(17-23 overall, 10-8 Ivy League)

 

“There’s so much uncertainty with the weather, but I told our guys we can’t focus on that,” said Dartmouth coach Bob Whalen, whose team ended Harvard’s division title hopes and has beaten the Crimson 15 consecutive times. “We’re just trying to win the next time we play.”

 

That challenge will be considerably easier if the Big Green can get pitching anything like it did Saturday. Ace Duncan Robinson, an undrafted senior performing in front of roughly a dozen Major League Baseball scouts and front office staffers, threw a five-hitter with four strikeouts and no walks.

 

The right-hander produced his seventh complete game of the season and was one out from his second shutout of the spring before surrendering a solo home run.

 

“Duncan Robinson is one of the most special kids I’ve ever had,” Whalen said. “If you’re going to have a good year, your best players have to be great, and he was great today.

 

“One of the hardest things to do in baseball is pitch with a small lead, because it seems like the eighth and ninth (innings) even in the third and fourth, particularly when you’re on the road.”

 

Shortstop Thomas Roulis had four hits and two RBIs and Nick Ruppert had three hits during the afternoon.

 

“Roulis is a heart and soul of our team,” Whalen said of a player who missed last season because of injury. “As he goes, so we go.”

 

Sulser also tossed a five-hitter, striking out five and walking none in seven innings. Chris Burkholder earned his second save.

 

“We know Duncan’s going to come out and pitch every time like it’s a Game 7,” Roulis said. “He had his stuff today and … Beau had a dominating performance. After last weekend, we were barely hanging on, and it’s great that we still have a chance to take care of business.”

 

Roulis and his team’s six other seniors don’t want to exit without another division crown.

 

“That always comes through our minds,” he said. “I’ve had seniors come up to us during tense situations in past seasons and say they didn’t want to be the class that broke the streak. But we can’t think about that right now.”

Softball (26-14, 14-4)

 

“When their big players show up in the moment and ours don’t, it’s a difference-maker,” said Dartmouth coach Shannon Doepking, whose squad stranded a combined 14 runners Saturday. “We definitely showed a little bit of fight but when you get runners on, you have to bring them in. It’s that simple.”

 

Third baseman Kelsey Miller was 1-for-7 and left fielder Chloe Madill was hitless in six at-bats during the doubleheader. Those batting in the seventh, eighth and ninth slots were a combined 1-for-17.

 

“We started Ivies really hot and we have a lot of offensive potential, but some of our kids are a little bit slow right now,” Doepking said. “We have nine players; we should be able to win games even with some people not being at their best.”

 

Senior shortstop Katie McEachern had three hits, including a solo home run, and two RBIs in four at-bats during the afternoon. She also drew two walks and stole three bases. Sophomore first baseman Maddie Damore was 4-for-7 with an RBI.

 

Harvard effectively won the first game by scoring three runs in the third inning off Dartmouth ace Morgan McCalmon. The visitors scored twice in the fourth, but surrendered another run in the fifth and McEachern’s home run in the sixth wasn’t enough.

 

Second-game starter Breanna Ethridge lasted 3 innings but allowed four hits and five runs, four of them earned. Lauren Stone then threw a scoreless inning and McCalmon re-entered the circle with two outs in the fifth and the score 5-5. She surrendered a two-out, solo home run in the sixth but Doepking wasn’t about to blame the Oklahoman.

 

“That game did not come down to Morgan going in there and giving up the winning home run,” the coach said. “It came down to the previous five innings when our offense did not get it done.

 

“We have to enjoy the ride and stay in the present. There’s nothing we can do about today and we have to get ready for tomorrow.”

 

Said McEachern: “The hardest thing is seeing our hitters doubt themselves but I think we’re going to come out tomorrow wanting it a lot more than we did today.”

 

 

Notes: Today’s baseball action is scheduled to start at 1 p.m., while softball goes off an hour later. … Harvard’s baseball team is 16-23 overall and 8-10 in Ivy play. The Crimson softball team is 27-14, 15-3. … Dartmouth hockey players Laura Stacey, Lindsey Allen and Ailish Forfar attended a home softball game last weekend decked out in Big Green hockey gear, sans sticks and skates. As an encore, the trio showed up Saturday in Dartmouth softball uniforms, complete with gloves. The illusion was shattered however, when the seniors scattered with screams when a foul pop-up came their way. … Dartmouth baseball won its 1,899th and 1,900th games since the program began in 1866. … Robinson has 17 collegiate victories, tying him for fifth on the Dartmouth career list… Ruppert hit leadoff in both games, the first time he’s done so all season. … Princeton has clinched the South Division softball title and will visit either Dartmouth or Harvard next weekend in the league’s championship series. The Tigers have also won the Gehrig Division baseball crown and will host either Dartmouth or Yale.

 

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.