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Baseball Bangs Out Season-High 18 Hits in 11-8 Victory

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Sophomore Nick Lombardi continued his torrid hitting with three extra-base hits.     By Eric Miller
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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — A day after having its eight-game winning streak to start the 2013 season snapped, Dartmouth (9-1) got back to its winning ways by holding off Bradley (9-10), 11-8, on Thursday afternoon at Chain of Lakes Stadium. The Big Green pounded out a season-high 18 hits with eight of the nine starters collecting at least two to end the Braves’ six-game winning streak.

Sophomore Nick Lombardi led Dartmouth by going 3-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and three RBIs, while classmate Matt MacDowell also had three hits. Senior Ennis Coble and junior Dustin Selzer each had a single and a double as well, while Coble drove in two runs and Selzer another.

Bradley had 14 hits of its own, six of which came in the final two innings as the Braves attempted to rally from an 11-3 deficit. Tyler Leffler led everyone with four hits, including a double, while driving in three runs, and Max Murphy added three more safeties with three more RBIs.

The Braves got on the board first on a two-out single to score Chris Godinez, who had reached on an infield single. In the second, Bradley scored again with the help of a Big Green error. Austin Jarvis and Leffler led off with singles, and Jarvis scurried home when David Compitello’s sacrifice bunt was thrown away. Dartmouth right-hander avoided any further damage by getting the first out on strikes then inducing a double play.

The Big Green stormed back in the third, however, to take the lead. A MacDowell lead-off single and a two-base throwing error on a grounder of the bat of sophomore Jay Graham put runners on second and third with nobody out. Freshman Nick Ruppert brought home the first run with a single back through the box, and sophomore Matt Parisi followed with another RBI single to tie the game at two. A squeeze bunt by freshman Trent Goodrich gave Dartmouth the lead, and Coble tacked on one more with a double to the right-center gap, plating Parisi for a 4-2 lead.

Murphy got one of those runs back in the bottom half with a single to drive in Mike Tauchman who had singled and stolen second.

A walk to Ruppert to start the fifth was damaging for Brave starter John Nasshan, who surrendered one-out singles to Goodrich and Coble to score a run. Lombardi then delivered an RBI double for his first hit of the day, boosting the lead to 6-3. Nasshan escaped without allowing any more runs to cross the plate by getting the final two outs on strikes.

Dartmouth extended the lead to 11-3 with two in the seventh and three more in the eighth with Lombardi in the middle of the action of both frames. He got things started with a one-out triple in the seventh, then came home on Selzer’s double. MacDowell then singled, and Selzer was able to score when the ball scooted under the left fielder’s glove.

In the eighth, Lombardi boomed a double with the bases loaded just out of the reach of the center fielder to send Parisi and Goodrich plateward, and junior Jeff Keller lofted a sacrifice fly to bring home the Big Green’s final run.

Meanwhile, senior right-hander Cole Sulser (2-0) settled in and pitched scoreless ball in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings before departing. His final line included allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits and three walks while striking out seven on 92 pitches in his six stanzas.

It appeared the Big Green would cruise to the victory as junior Mike Dodakian hurled a scoreless seventh and retired the first two batters to start the eighth. But the usually dependable Dartmouth defense booted consecutive ground balls to keep the inning alive, and the Braves took advantage with Leffler delivering a two-run double. Compitello and Brady Wilkin both singled, the latter scoring Leffler to make it an 11-6 game.

When Bradley managed two singles and a walk in the ninth to get within four, the Big Green called upon sophomore closer Thomas Olson to get the final out. After surrendering a single to Leffler to score another run and bring the tying run to the plate, Olson got a routine grounder to the shortstop Parisi who flipped to Goodrich for the force to end the game and give Olson his fourth save of the year.

Nasshan (1-4) was tagged with the loss, yielding six runs, five earns, on 12 hits over 5.1 innings. The right-hander walked one and punched out a pair of hitters.

Dartmouth has two more games on Friday, first taking on Babson at 1:30 p.m. before squaring off with Bradley against at 5:30 p.m.