CHARLESTON, S.C. — Dartmouth scored four insurance runs in the top of the ninth and turned out to need every one as The Citadel rallied for four in the bottom half. Junior Marc Bachman left the tying run stranded at second base to earn his first career save as the Big Green (6-4) salvaged a split in the four-game series with the Bulldogs (7-12) on Sunday afternoon at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park with a 10-9 victory.
Each of the first five hitters in the Dartmouth lineup had at least two hits, led by senior Michael Ketchmark’s 4-for-5 day. The first baseman also walked once and drove in a pair of runs as the Big Green rapped out 15 hits on the day. Juniors Dustin Shirley and Kyle Holbrook also had two RBIs and two hits apiece, and freshman Trevor Johnson reached base five times with two singles and three walks while scoring three times.
The offensive outburst helped senior Michael Danielak (3-0) earn his third victory in as many starts this season. The right-hander toiled for 7.1 innings, surrendering five earned runs on eight hits and a walk to go with a season-high eight strikeouts, the first of which was the 100th of his career.
Clinging to a 6-5 lead to start the ninth, Dartmouth failed to get the leadoff batter on for the first time since the first inning. But after two quick outs, the third proved elusive for The Citadel, starting with a walk to senior Adam Gauthier. Johnson then rapped a single to center, followed by an RBI single off the bat of Matt Feinstein, giving him his seventh multi-hit game out of 10 this year.
The Big Green weren’t finished, however, as Shirley and Ketchmark each had run-scoring singles before Holbrook ripped a double over the right fielder’s head for an RBI double and a seemingly safe 10-5 lead.
Barrett Sharpia quickly gave notice that the Bulldogs would not go quietly, belting his fifth long ball of the year to start the bottom half. Joe Sabatini — who had already homered twice — singled before freshman southpaw Michael Parsons retired the next two hitters. But that third out would not come as two singles and a Jonathan Sabo two-run double closed the gap to one again.
Bachman, another left-hander, trotted in from the bullpen to face the lefty-swinging Ben Peden. On a 2-2 pitch, Peden rapped a grounder toward the hole that Ketchmark at first couldn’t quite reach. But second baseman Shirley was playing him to pull and gobbled up the ball, throwing to Bachman covering first to end the three-hour, 23-minute contest.
Citadel starter Marlin Morris (0-2) suffered the loss for yielding the first four runs, all earned, on six hits and three walks while fanning four over three-plus innings. He was supported by Sabo and Sabatini, both of whom had three hits and three RBIs.
Dartmouth got on the board first, loading the bases in the second with one out before a sharp grounder off the bat of sophomore Nate Ostmo brought home Holbrook. In the bottom half, however, Sabatini sent a pitch over the fence in right-center for a two-run blast and a 2-1 Bulldog lead.
In the third, the Big Green went right back to work at the plate as Johnson walked and Feinstein singled him to third. Shirley then poked a ball through the right side for an RBI single before Ketchmark walked to load the bases with nobody out. Holbrook brought home the go-ahead run with a hard grounder to first that was initially bobbled but eventually contained to get the out at first.
Gauthier led off the fourth by ripping into the first pitch for his first career home run to deep left-center and a 4-2 Dartmouth lead, but Sabatini matched him with his second four-bagger of the game, this time on an 0-2 pitch, to start the bottom of the fifth.
Johnson and Feinstein both walked to get the sixth inning started — the fifth straight inning the Big Green had the first two batters reach base — and Ketchmark came through with a one-out RBI single on a full-count pitch with the runners on the move. A wild pitch allowed the runners to take second and third, but the Bulldogs escaped further damage with a strikeout and a comebacker.
Again The Citadel answered back thanks to doubles by Sabo and William Kinney in its half of the sixth. Sharpia had thoughts of tying the game at five when he ripped a single to left, but Feinstein came up gunning to nail Kinney at the plate and preserve Dartmouth’s 5-4 advantage.
Both teams tacked on a run in the eighth, the Big Green on a double play grounder, the Bulldogs on Sabo’s fourth four-bagger of the year, setting up the wild ninth.
Dartmouth continues its spring break trip, traveling to the state of Florida to play six games starting with a solo contest against the University of Chicago at Lake Myrtle Park on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Notes: Ketchmark had four hits in a game to match a career high set twice previously ... he also extended his hit streak to a modest six games and has reached base in all 10, as has the rookie Johnson ... Danielak had not allowed a run in 13.1 innings until the second-inning home run by Sabatini ... Gauthier’s home run ended a drought of 115 at-bats without an extra-base hit.