Official Website of Dartmouth College Varsity Athletics

Home Opener for Baseball on Wednesday

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By Mike Janes
The Games: Dartmouth (11-1) vs. Siena (6-15)
Location: Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park (2,000), Hanover, N.H.
First pitch: Wednesday, March 27 at 3 p.m.
Series Record: Dartmouth leads 5-2
Video ($), Audio - Big Green Insider (Wayne Young play-by-play)
Live Stats
Complete Game Notes

Home Opener
When Dartmouth hosts Siena on March 27, it will be the earliest date for Dartmouth’s first home game of the season. Last year the Big Green hosted Amherst on March 28, and the year before that this same Siena club on March 30, which was the first game played in Hanover during the month of March in the program’s history.

Since 1923, the Big Green are 60-30 in home openers and 17-6 under head coach Bob Whalen, including victories in 11 of their last 12. Dartmouth has been very comfortable at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park, posting a 55-7 record (.887) since the stadium was built and the FieldTurf was installed prior to the 2009 season, the second-best home record at the Division I level in that span. Only Manhattan (58-5, .921) has a better percentage.

Last Week in Review
•    The Big Green won eight of their nine games at the RussMatt Invitational down in Florida to improve to 11-1 for the season, their best 12-game start in the program’s history covering more than 140 seasons.
•    Among the teams Dartmouth beat on its spring break were a team that won 41 games last year (Army), another that won 40 (North Dakota State) and another that posted 32 victories (UAB).
•    The offense hit .309 in the nine games while averaging more than seven runs a game. Eleven of the 15 Big Green that came to the plate hit at least .300 and junior Jeff Keller hit .379 with 11 RBIs.
•    Senior left-hander Michael Johnson was named the Ivy League Pitcher of the Week after winning both of his starts, shutting out ND State over seven innings while striking out a career-high 12 batters, and then allowing just two runs in six stanzas with six strikeouts in a 7-4 win over Bradley.
•    The lone loss during the trip came against Slippery Rock, which has been ranked in numerous Division II polls this season.
•    Sophomore Nick Lombardi extended his hitting streak to 12 games dating back to last season, and is second in the Ivy League with a .400 average.
•    Three Big Green players recorded their first collegiate hits during the trip — junior Shane Ogren, sophomore Jay Graham and freshman Trent Goodrich.

The Overall Record vs. Siena
•    Dartmouth has squared off against the Saints seven times previously, all since 2002, and sport a 5-2 mark in the series.
•    The last encounter came two years ago for the Big Green’s home opener in 2011. Dartmouth jumped out to a 12-0 lead through three innings, then withstood some late Saint scoring to win a 16-11 slugfest.
•    The first time these two schools met on the diamond came in 2002 for a doubleheader in Hanover. The Green won a blowout in a game one, 15-2, before Siena rebounded in game two, 4-1.

Scouting the Saints
•    Since losing 13 of its first 16 games, Siena has won three of five, but last night gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth to allow Army rally for a 7-6 win.
•    The offense is scoring close to five runs a game with Mike Fish and Larry Balkwill providing eight of the Saints’ 12 home runs and combining to drive in 36 runs.
•    The opposition is hitting .325 against the Siena pitching staff, which has an ERA of 5.87.
•    The Saints defense has a .955 fielding percentage while committing 34 errors which have led to 29 unearned runs.

Probable Starting Pitchers
•    Taking the hill for Dartmouth will be sophomore LHP Adam Frank (1-0, 3.60), who hurled five innings against Vassar last week in his first start of 2013, allowing two runs on just two hits but with five walks.
•    Siena will likely throw several pitchers throughout the game, but my guess is that rookie RHP Bryan Goossens (0-3, 2.57) will toe the slab to start the game.

What’s Up Next
The Ivy League season gets under way this weekend as the Big Green first travel to Philadelphia to take on a Penn team that is currently 12-7 in a noon doubleheader on Saturday. The next day, Dartmouth will square off against Columbia in New York. The Lions are just 6-11, but have won their last four contests.

Historic Start
First Dartmouth won its first three games to win the Dairy Queen Classic hosted by the University of Minnesota at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and match its best start in the 24 years that head coach Bob Whalen has directed the program. Then the Big Green extended their win streak to eight, equaling the most victories to start a season that was set by the 1903 squad. Currently, the 11-1 record marks the best 12-game start for any Dartmouth baseball team in this the 141st varsity season. Both the 1958 and 1998 clubs started 10-1 but fell in the 12th game.

Johnson Ivy Pitcher of the Week
For the third time in the first four weeks of the season, a Big Green pitcher was selected as the Ivy League Pitcher of the Week when senior southpaw Michael Johnson earned the honor on March 26. He won both of his starts in the previous week, first striking out a career-high 12 batters — the most by a Dartmouth hurler since Cole Sulser fanned 13 Cornell batters on April 9, 2011 — in seven shutout innings in a 6-0 win over North Dakota State. Five days later, he held Bradley in check for six innings, surrendering just two runs in his final frame while punching out six.

Televised Game on April 7
Fox College Sports will broadcast the first televised baseball game at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park on April 7 when it airs the first game of the twinbill between Dartmouth and Cornell. The game will be a rematch of last year’s Ivy Championship Series which the Big Red won, two games to one, on a walk-off homer in the 11th inning of game three. This will be the first appearance on TV for the Big Green since playing in the 2010 NCAA Regional at Miami that was shown by ESPNU.

Ivy Statistical Leaders
It’s no surprise that Dartmouth boasts numerous statistical leaders in the Ivy League with its 11-1 start to the season. As a team, the Big Green lead the Ancient Eight in 11 categories, including batting average (.311), scoring (6.9 runs per game), ERA (2.57) and fielding percentage (.977), plus top the nation in doubles per game (2.75). Among individuals, sophomore Nick Lombardi leads the loop in per game averages for doubles (0.6), homers (0.2) and RBIs (1.4) as well as slugging (.750). Senior Cole Sulser and 1.00 ERA are atop the league leaders, as is senior Kyle Hunter with his 11.25 strikeouts per nine innings.

Saves Piling Up Quickly
Last year as a rookie, Thomas Olson earned six saves and received second-team All-Ivy honors in the process. After just 12 games this season, the right-hander already has five saves, giving him 11 for his career, the third-most ever at Dartmouth. Also, junior Mike Dodakian and freshman Michael Danielak have recorded four-inning saves, giving the Big Green a total of seven thus far. The school record is 13 set in 2009 thanks in large part to the 11 posted by Ryan Smith ’11.

Reserves Step Up Versus Vassar
Head coach Bob Whalen gave some of his reserves an opportunity to show what they could do when he filled out his lineup against Division III Vassar on March 19. Those reserves did not disappoint in the 10-2 victory with senior Chad Piersma going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and three RBIs in the fourth start of his career, sophomore Jay Graham going 2-for-5 with a double and a run in his first official collegiate at-bats and junior Shane Ogren recording his first collegiate hit and scoring twice in his first-ever start.

Back-to-Back Shutouts
With a 4-0 victory over UAB on March 17 and a 6-0 triumph over North Dakota State the next day, Dartmouth enjoyed its consecutive shutouts for the first time since whitewashing Providence in both ends of a doubleheader almost 36 years earlier on April 11, 1977. The pitching staff strung together a total of 24 scoreless innings, having shut down LIU in the final four frames before the UAB game and kept Vassar off the board in the first two innings.

Old MacDowell Had a Homer
Sophomore catcher Matt MacDowell had a ball at the plate against LIU on March 17, ripping a two-run single in his first at-bat, then launching his first career home run the next time up. The two-run shot gave the Big Green a 6-2 lead en route to an 11-4 victory.

Ninth-inning Rally
Dartmouth has not faced many deficits this season, having trailed at the end of just 17 out of the 108 innings played thus far, nearly half of which came in the lone loss to Slippery Rock (8). But on March 16, Army scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to take a 2-1 lead. The Big Green didn’t seem to mind, however, as they put four runs on the board for a 5-2 win. It was their first time Dartmouth had overcome a deficit in the final frame since a 6-4 victory over Columbia in a seven-inning game on April 2, 2011, and the first ninth-inning come-from-behind win since an 11-inning, 8-6 win over UCF on March 5, 2011.