Big Green Sweeps, Heads to a Tiebreaker
Boston — The Dartmouth College baseball team finished a four-game sweep of Harvard by taking both ends of a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon at a blustery O’Donnell Field, 9-0 and 5-2. The victories elevated the Big Green (17-19, 11-9 Ivy) into a tie for first in the Ivy League’s Rolfe Division standings with Yale, setting up a one-game playoff with the Bulldogs to be played at Dartmouth’s Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park this weekend. The date has yet to be determined. The Crimson conclude their season with an overall record of 11-28 and 5-15 in conference play.
“I am so proud of our guys,” Big Green coach Bob Whalen said after the twinbill. “It’s tough to beat a team four times, especially with what we had on the line to try and force a playoff. We talked during last week about this series being four one-game playoffs for us, and these guys came through each and every time. And it wasn’t easy because even though Harvard had been eliminated from the race, they really came to play.”
Dartmouth freshman right-hander Mike Concato (2-3) was brilliant in the opener, tossing his second straight complete-game shutout. The rookie finished off the seven-inning contest in just 82 pitches, scattering seven hits while walking one and fanning three.
“Mike was terrific today in less than ideal playing conditions,” Whalen said in a news release. “He was able to work out of some trouble early in the game, then just kept getting stronger as the game went on.”
The two teams were in the midst of a thrilling pitchers’ duel between Concato and Harvard’s Nick Gruener when the Big Green blew open the scoreless game with nine runs in the sixth — its biggest scoring inning of the season — on just four hits. The key hits were a Jeff Keller grand slam and a Thomas Roulis two-run single.
Dartmouth had just six hits in the first game, with Keller and Joe Purritano each collecting a pair. Seven of the nine hitters in the lineup scored at least once.
In the second game, Dartmouth faced a 2-1 deficit entering the fifth inning when the offense kicked in again and scored four runs. Roulis and Dustin Selzer had RBI hits, and Purritano added a two-run double.
Harvard scraped out an unearned run in the eighth against Dartmouth reliever Duncan Robinson, but left another potential run on third when the tall right-hander fanned Jake McGuiggan — who was 3-for-3 with a homer in the game — to end the inning. Robinson made quick work of the Crimson in the ninth with a strikeout sandwiched between a pair of grounders to finish off the Big Green victory.
Harvard starter Timoney (3-5) took the loss after surrendering five runs over 42⁄3 innings on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Three senior relievers, pitching in their final collegiate game, combined to shut Dartmouth out the rest of the way, led by Sam Dodge who fanned four in 21⁄3 innings.
Keller, Roulis and Nick Lombardi each had two hits for the Big Green, which had 11 hits.
“We were able to string together big hits when we needed them to sustain big innings,” Whalen said. “Roulis came up with the hit that opened the door each game, and the guys behind him kept it going. Keller sealed the deal in the first game with his grand slam, and I don’t know how Purritano hit that double as far as he did in game two into that wind. He really put a charge in that one.”
Dartmouth has one last tune-up before the playoff against Yale when the Big Green host Siena (16-26) today at 3 p.m.
Extra Bases: Dartmouth has won seven straight games, making this the seventh straight season it has had a winning streak of at least seven games. ... The Big Green earned the right to host the playoff against Yale by beating the Bulldogs three out of four in the season series. ... Dartmouth has won the last nine games against Harvard and 17 of the last 18.