ITHACA, N.Y. — Junior Cole O'Connor threw seven strong innings in the first of two games at Cornell on Saturday afternoon, allowing Dartmouth to win the opener, 4-2. But the host Big Red (6-15-1, 2-6 Ivy) salvaged a twinbill split behind the pitching of Seth Urbon, defeating the Big Green (8-16-1, 4-3-1 Ivy) in the nightcap, 8-3.
Dartmouth struck first to start the day with a pair of runs in the third inning of game one. Junior Steffen Torgersen and freshman Bennett McCaskill got things started with one-out singles and junior Sean Sullivan walked to load the bases. The first run came home on a line single to right off the bat of junior Matt Feinstein, and senior Kyle Holbrook brought home the second run with a fly to left as McCaskill beat the throw to the plate. The damage could have been much worse, though, as senior Dustin Shirley sent a deep drive to left, only to have Josh Arndt make the catch against the fence, ending the inning.
The Big Red defense saved another run in the fourth on a diving stop by the first baseman, Trey Baur, who flipped to pitcher Tim Willittes covering to strand a runner on second. But Dartmouth got that third run home in the sixth on an RBI single to right by sophomore Michael Calamari, scoring Shirley who had dropped a double inside the right-field line.
O’Connor cruised through the first six innings, keeping the Big Red off the scoreboard as not a single Cornell player advanced past second base. But the hosts finally scratched two runs off the right-hander in the seventh, beginning with a walk and a single to start the stanza. After a sacrifice bunt, O’Connor induced a pop to short, but Ryan Krainz lined an 0-1 pitch just over the shortstop’s head for a two-run single, closing the gap to one at 3-2.
In the eighth, Dartmouth tallied an insurance run thanks to the lone error of the game. Shirley led off with a grounder to short that was thrown away, allowing him to take second. He was still there two outs later when Cornell called upon Colby Wyatt from the bullpen. Junior Nate Ostmo worked him for a walk, and Torgersen sent a pitch back through the box for a RBI single up the middle and a 4-2 lead.
Sophomore Austen Michel relieved O’Connor to start the eighth and retired six of the seven batters he faced, two on strikes, to earn his fourth save of the season.
O’Connor (4-3) won his third Ivy League game in as many starts, allowing the two runs on five hits and four walks while fanning four.
Willittes (2-4) was stuck with the loss, yielding three runs in six innings on five hits and a pair of free passes to with five strikeouts.
Torgersen had two of the eight Big Green hits, scoring once and driving in one, and Shirley scored two of the four runs.
In the nightcap, Urbon surrendered a one-out double to Feinstein in the first, but did not allow another hit until sophomore Blake Crossing led off the eighth with a single, retiring 13 straight at one point.
Dartmouth senior Clay Chatham, meanwhile, cruised through the first three frames, retiring all nine batters he faced. But he found trouble his second time through the order as Cornell roughed him up for four runs in fourth, all coming after two were out. Will Simoneit ripped a two-run double to break the scoreless tie, Josh Arndt followed with an RBI single to left and took second on the throw to the plate, where Simoneit leapt over the catcher to score. Trey Baur capped the inning with another run-scoring single for a 4-0 lead.
Three more hits in the fifth, the last another two-out knock by Ellis Bitar to bring home Krainz, made it a 5-0 game. Cornell then added two runs against the Big Green bullpen in the seventh and another in the eighth to wrap up its offense for the day.
The Big Green put a run on the board in the eighth when McCaskill ripped a two-out shot inside the third-base foul line for an RBI double, scoring Crossing after his single. Holbrook crushed a one-out solo shot down the right-field line in the ninth, his third home run of the season, and Crossing delivered a two-out, RBI single to score Shirley. That run denied Urbon a complete game as he was lifted in favor of Andrew Ellison, who got the final out on a called third strike to end the game.
Urbon (1-2) earned his first win of the season, giving up three runs on six hits, walking two and striking out two.
Krainz paced the 11-hit Big Red attack with a trio of singles, scoring twice and driving in one, while Simoneit had three RBIs on a single and a double.
Chatham (1-3) suffered the loss, yielding five runs, four earned, on eight hits, though he struck out a career-high eight batters without a walk.
The rubber match of the three-game series is scheduled for tomorrow with first pitch at 1 p.m. The game will be streamed live on the Ivy League Network, now available on Apple TV, Roku and the ILN app for Android and Apple devices.
Notes: Crossing had a nine-game hit streak ended in the first game, but rapped out two singles in the second contest … Calamari extended his hitting streak to 10 in the opener, but went 0-for-4 in the nightcap.