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Win Streak Snapped at Eight as Dartmouth Slips Against the Rock

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Rookie Nick Ruppert led the offense with three hits against Slippery Rock.     By Mike Janes
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AUBURNDALE, Fla. — Dartmouth (8-1) became the final Division I baseball team to lose a game this year as it came up short of breaking the school record for consecutive victories to begin a season in a 7-3 loss to Slippery Rock (13-4) at Lake Myrtle Park in the Russ-Matt Invitational on Wednesday. The loss ended the eight-game win streak, leaving the Big Green tied with the 1903 squad for the best start to a season.

The Rock, ranked 28th in the most recent Collegiate Baseball Division II poll, scored six times in the second to take control of the game. All of the runs came after the first two batters were retired, beginning with a solo blast off the bat of Jake Weibley, his second of the season. The next three hitters all singled to bring home the second run, then Will Kengor stroked an RBI double to left. Jake Nogalo plated two more runs with a single up the middle, and John Shaffer followed with a double to make it 6-0.

In the third, Slippery Rock tacked on one more run off junior starter Lou Concato (0-1). Singles by Brandon Myers and Ryan LaRose put runners on the corners with one down, and Graeme Zaparzynski sent a fly to left to send Myers scooting home for a 7-0 Rock lead.

Meanwhile, the Dartmouth hitters were not having much luck with Rock left-hander Anton Constantino. The Big Green did threaten to score in the first when freshman Trent Goodrich singled with one down and junior Jeff Keller sent him to third with another single. It appeared Dartmouth would score the first run of the game when sophomore Nick Lombardi hit a fly to left and Goodrich crossed the plate, but it was ruled that he left third too early and was doubled off to end the inning.

For the next four innings, Constantino faced the minimum number of hitters, yielding just a single to freshman Nick Ruppert, who was picked off first. Sophomore Matt Parisi reached him for a one-out single in the sixth, and freshman Joe Purritano and Ruppert both singled in the seventh, but the Big Green could not get a runner across the dish.

Slippery Rock went to the bullpen to start the eighth, and Dartmouth pounced on reliever Ryan Oglesby. Sophomore Bo Patterson led off with a single, took third on a Parisi double and scored on a short-hop grounder to second off the bat of Goodrich. A wild pitch allowed Parisi to take third, and after Keller walked, Lombardi ripped an RBI double down the third-base line. Purritano then hit a sacrifice fly to make it a 7-3 game, and junior Dustin Selzer nearly put two more runs on the board with his deep fly to left. But Rock left fielder Zaparzynski was there to bring the drive back into the ballpark, robbing the first baseman of a two-run homer.

In the ninth, Slippery Rock summoned ace Lou Trivino to get the final three outs, which he did quickly with a pair of strikeouts.

Six Rock hitters produced two hits on the day as Slippery Rock outhit the Big Green, 14-10. Nogalo was 2-for-5 with a run and two RBIs to lead the offense and help the Rock win their fourth straight game.

Constantino (1-2) earned his first victory with seven shutout innings, scattering seven hits while striking out four.

Taking the loss was Concato (0-1), making his first start of the season after two scoreless relief appearances. The right-hander surrendered all seven runs on 11 hits over 5.2 innings, but did not walk a batter and struck out a career-high six. Freshman Duncan Robinson finished up the final 2.1 frames, yielding three hits and punching out two.

Ruppert had three of Dartmouth’s 10 hits while Parisi added a single and a double.

Dartmouth is back in action tomorrow afternoon when it plays Bradley (9-9) at Chain of Lakes Stadium in Winter Haven, Fla., at 3 p.m. Slippery Rock plays again on Saturday in a conference doubleheader at Lock Haven University at 1 p.m.