Big Green Batters Brown
Dartmouth’s Bo Patterson slides safely into second base with a steal as the throw hits Brown infielder Tim McKeithan in the chin. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — The Dartmouth baseball team appears to be hitting its stride just in time for the Ivy League season’s stretch run. Yesterday, the Big Green walloped visiting Brown 7-0 and 7-2, pinning a pair of defeats on the reeling Bears for the second consecutive day.
The results improved Dartmouth to 22-6 overall and 8-4 in league play and pushed the Big Green’s Rolfe Division lead over second-place Harvard and Yale to three games with eight remaining. Dartmouth, which has won the last five division titles, plays a combined four games at Yale on Saturday and Sunday. It then faces a home-and-home set of doubleheaders against Harvard during the Ivies’ final weekend.
Dartmouth lost to visiting Boston College last Tuesday before winning at Holy Cross a day later. The Big Green then demolished Brown by a combined 27-5 during the teams’ four-game set at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park. Coach Bob Whalen isn’t usually one to dwell on success, but after scolding his team following last weekend’s doubleheader splits against Princeton and Cornell, he wanted the troops to bask in the turnaround for at least a few hours.
“I didn’t want to focus on Yale today; I wanted the kids to enjoy what they did,” Whalen said of yesterday’s postgame talk in the home dugout. “We won five of six games this week and played really good baseball doing it. We threw strikes, played good defense and made other teams try and beat us with the bat.”
Said first baseman Dustin Selzer: “Coach got on us last weekend, and rightfully so. From that last out against Cornell, we’ve been preparing harder and playing with more fire and intensity than we had been.”
Dartmouth received a five-hit shutout from lefthanded pitcher Mitch Horacek in yesterday’s first game. Brown put runners in scoring position during each of the first three innings but over the final four frames, Horacek faced the minimum number of batters and finished the contest with six strikeouts and no walks. Nick Lombardi and Bo Patterson each had two hits and an RBI.
The second game served as the crowning triumph on a spectacular weekend for freshman Joe Purritano. The designated hitter belted two home runs and had three RBIs. During the four-game series, the New Jersey native torched Brown for nine hits in 14 at-bats with a double, triple, four home runs and 10 RBIs.
“He stayed on pitches very consistently, and when a kid can handle inside velocity and also handle off-speed pitches away, you know he’s locked in,’’ Whalen said. “He certainly got the barrel (of the bat) to the ball and used the whole field this weekend. All I can say is I hope he keeps it going.”
Purritano said he doesn’t attempt to hit home runs, just to drive the ball hard. But he admitted he’s enjoyed the recent results of his approach.
“It was a special weekend, definitely one to remember,’’ said the 19-year-old. “Throughout the week, we were watching video of my at-bats against Cornell. I tightened my stance a little bit, got some more balance and felt like I was seeing the ball well today. I was just letting my hands fly.”
Righthanded starting pitcher Michael Johnson allowed five hits and one earned run during seven innings of the nine-inning nightcap. The senior lefthander struck out five Bears and walked none. He was followed for an inning each by Michael Danielak and Thomas Olson, neither of whom allowed a hit or a run.
“Mike has given our team a chance to win every single time this season,’’ said Whalen, whose team hosts St. Anselm on Wednesday. “He hasn’t had a bad outing.”
Ennis Coble had four hits for Dartmouth to lead a 13-hit attack during the second game. Selzer, Lombardi, Purritano and Matt MacDowell each had two hits during that contest. Brown fell to 3-24 overall and 1-11 in league play.
Notes: Former New York Mets relief pitcher John Franco watched yesterday’s games to see his son, J.J., compete for Brown. Franco played from 1984-2005, and his 1,119 pitching appearances are a National League record and third in Major League history. His 424 saves are the most recorded by a Major League southpaw. … Purritano had five hits Saturday. The last Dartmouth player to do so was 2012 graduate Joe Sclafani, against Maryland-Baltimore County on March 24, 2011.
Tris Wykes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3227.