The Games: Dartmouth (2-7) at #18 Kansas (14-7)
Location: Hoglund Ballpark (2,500), Lawrence, Kan.
First pitches: Friday, March 21 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 22 at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 23 at 11 a.m. (all times Eastern)
Series Record vs. Kansas: Jayhawks lead 2-0
Video: ESPN3 (Friday | Saturday | Sunday)
Complete Series Notes
Another Ranked Team on Tap
The Big Green’s early-season schedule has not been the easiest thus far with six of the first nine games coming against ranked opponents. Now Dartmouth squares off against Kansas — ranked 18th in the Collegiate Baseball poll — for three more games before heading back to the Northeast.
Last Series in Review
• Dartmouth dropped two of three to Nebraska Omaha on Kansas’ home field of Hoglund Ballpark, picking up a win in the second game, 10-3.
• The bats started to show some life, scoring 19 runs in the three games while batting .276/.347/.419.
• Junior Matt Parisi hit the first Dartmouth home run of the season in the opener against the Mavericks, and senior Dustin Selzer launched his first of the season in the finale.
• The Big Green got strong starting performances on the mound from sophomores Duncan Robinson and Adam Charnin-Aker. Robinson picked up his first collegiate win on Wednesday by tossing two-run ball over seven stanzas, while Charnin-Aker made his collegiate debut on Thursday with six innings of two-run ball.
• Freshman Michael Ketchmark swatted a triple in back-to-back games and is batting .316.
• Leading the team in hitting is junior Thomas Roulis at .357 while reaching base at a .424 clip.
• In both the second and third games of the series, Dartmouth trailed 2-1 entering the seventh inning. On Wednesday, the Big Green put a seven-spot on the board to cruise to the 10-3 victory, while Omaha scored two in the seventh and six in the eighth in the finale to win the game, 10-4.
The Overall Record vs. Kansas
• Dartmouth is 0-2 against the Jayhawks, having squared off against them in 2008 and 2009.
• The first meeting was six years ago yesterday down in Florida with Kansas squeaking past the Big Green, 8-6.
• The other showdown was in an elimination game at the NCAA Regional in Chapel Hill on May 30, 2009. The Jayhawks showed no mercy in a 16-0 blanking of Dartmouth.
Scouting the Jayhawks
• Last weekend Kansas took two of three on the road at 10th-ranked Texas, helping it earn its national ranking this week. But New Mexico just handed the Jayhawks a pair of mid-week losses, 6-3 and 10-4.
• The offense is averaging close to seven runs a game while hitting .291/.376/.391. While Justin Protacio leads the Jayhawks with a .333 average, Connor McKay (.305, 4 HR, 29 RBI) and Tucker Tharp (.313, 2 HR, 15 RBI) have been the most dangerous hitters in the lineup.
• As a team, Kansas sports a solid 3.43 ERA. The Jayhawks have a solid starting rotation of four pitchers, led by RHP Frank Duncan and his 1.64 ERA in 38.1 innings.
• The bullpen has saved five games, three by Jordan Piché, while Stephen Villines has allowed just one unearned run over 12 innings of work.
• The defense has a respectable .967 fielding percentage but turned just nine double plays.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• Dartmouth will send sophomore RHP Michael Danielak (0-1, 4.00) to the mound for the opener Friday night for just his second collegiate start. He took the loss at TCU in his first, 5-1. Opposing him will be LHP Wes Benjamin (3-0, 4.11) who has allowed just two earned runs in his last 15.2 innings (versus Stanford and Texas).
• For Saturday’s matinee, sophomore RHP Beau Sulser (1-1, 3.27) will toe the slab for the Big Green. He took a 4-1 loss at TCU last weekend, but did not allow a run in five of his six innings on the mound. Kansas will counter with RHP Robert Katana (1-3, 3.56), who is coming off an eight-inning start at Texas in which he surrendered just two unearned runs.
• To conclude the series, Dartmouth will turn to freshman RHP Mike Concato (0-0, 5.23) to make his collegiate starting debut. He has faced each of the first three Big Green opponents this season, most recently allowing three runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings of relief against Omaha. The Jayhawks have ace RHP Frank Duncan (2-1, 1.64) on the mound. He has struck out 34 batters in 38.1 innings on the season with just two walks.
What’s Up Next
Dartmouth is scheduled to play at Siena on Wednesday, March 26, but cold weather in the Northeast has that game in doubt. The Ivy League schedule begins next weekend with doubleheaders at Cornell on Saturday and Princeton on Sunday.
Keller Candidate for Senior CLASS
Senior Jeff Keller was named as one of the 30 NCAA Division I baseball players chosen as candidates for the Senior CLASS (Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School) Award as announced on March 19. The award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Keller is an economics major with a 3.96 GPA and last year was the first Big Green baseball player to be named an Academic All-American.
Long Road for Charnin-Aker
Sophomore RHP took an arduous path to making his collegiate debut. The right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery two years ago and sat out his entire freshman year rehabbing. On March 20, the son of former big league pitcher Jack Aker finally got a chance to pitch for the Big Green, making the most of his start against Nebraska Omaha by allowing just two runs over six innings with three strikeouts. Not every story has a fairy-tale ending, however, as he was stuck with the loss as he left the game trailing, 2-1, and the Mavericks went on to defeat Dartmouth, 10-4.
Ketchmark Making His Mark
Rookie has been in the starting lineup in each of the last four games and is 6-for-19 (.316) thus far. Twice he produced a single and a triple in the series against Omaha, and despite playing about half of the time, he leads the Big Green with five runs scored this year.
We Have Liftoff
It wasn’t until the seventh game of the season before Dartmouth launched its first home run of the season, but it came from a rather unlikely source in leadoff hitter . The shortstop lives up to his position’s name as the team’s shortest player at 5-9, but he packed a wallop into a 2-2 pitch in the fifth inning against Omaha on March 18. Two days later, the Big Green’s largest hitter, senior (6-3, 220), joined Parisi in the home run column, also belting a fifth-inning offering over the fence.
Trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning against Omaha on March 19, Dartmouth scored seven runs on seven hits en route to a 10-3 victory. It was the biggest scoring inning for the Big Green in almost exactly one year having scored seven times in the fourth frame against Babson on March 22, 2013.
Patterson Twice as Nice
Junior Bo Patterson came to the plate twice in that seven-run outburst against the Mavericks, and both times he recorded hits. The first time he laid down a bunt for a single leading off the inning, then he capped the scoring with a two-run double. He finished the game with career highs in hits (3) and RBIs (3). It was the first multi-RBI game of his career as well.