HANOVER, N.H. — Junior Matt Parisi lined a shot over the left fielder’s head with the bases loaded in the ninth for the game-winning single as the Dartmouth Big Green rallied for four runs in the final frame to defeat visiting Holy Cross on Wednesday afternoon at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park, 8-7. The big rally allowed Dartmouth (7-16) to win consecutive games for the first time this year, having beaten Boston College the day before, 2-1.
After scoring two runs in the top of the ninth thanks to four walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch, Holy Cross (10-19) turned to closer Jon Escobar to maintain its three-run lead. Following a bunt down the third-base line that junior Thomas Roulis just beat out for a hit, Escobar struggled with his command, walking seniors Jeff Keller and Dustin Selzer to load the bases with nobody out. Escobar (0-3) then missed the strike zone with his next two pitches to sophomore Joe Purritano, sending head coach Greg DiCenzo to the mound for a pitching change.
Two of Brendan King’s first three pitches were also balls, allowing Purritano to trot to first and force in a run. Junior Nick Lombardi followed by lining a 2-2 pitch into right-center field for a two-run single to tie the game at seven. The throw to the plate got away from the catcher, allowing Lombardi to take second as well, and the Crusaders decided to intentionally walk junior Matt MacDowell to load the bases once again to set up a force at the plate.
Holy Cross also brought in its third pitcher of the inning, Ryan Filipowicz, to do his best Houdini impersonation. He started well by striking out the first batter in an epic 10-pitch at-bat. But after Parisi fouled off two 0-2 offerings, he got the barrel of the bat on the ball and drove a shot off the left-field fence for one of the longest walk-off singles in recent memory.
Dartmouth began the game by spoiling the homecoming for Crusader freshman starter Joe Cravero, a Hanover native, by batting around in the first inning for a quick 4-0 lead. Sophomore Nick Ruppert led off with a booming three-bagger to right-center and trotted home when Roulis lined a shot past a diving third baseman for an RBI single. Keller also singled, and with one out, Purritano hit a two-run triple before Lombardi lofted a fly to center for a sacrifice fly.
The Big Green loaded the bases on two more singles and a walk, but Cravero finally retired the side on a fly ball to center. He settled in after the rude greeting, retiring nine straight hitters before being pulled in the fourth after issuing a walk to Ruppert.
Meanwhile, Dartmouth sophomore right-hander Adam Charnin-Aker held the Crusaders scoreless through three innings until Brandon Cipolla led off the fourth with his second home run of the season. Holy Cross added another run in the fifth on an RBI triple by Bobby Indeglia, scoring Bill Schich who had singled. Charnin-Aker limited the damage to just that run, however, as he induced a comebacker and a fly to center to end the inning.
When Charnin-Aker yielded a single to Cipolla to start the sixth, Dartmouth head coach Bob Whalen called upon freshman Chris Burkholder, who set down the first two Crusaders, only to have Connor Perry tie the game with a two-run blast, his second of the year.
In the seventh, the Big Green had an opportunity to take the lead, but Keller was thrown out trying to stretch his gapper into a triple on a perfect relay throw by second baseman Andrew Barry. The out especially stung when Purritano smacked a double two batters later.
Holy Cross took the lead in the eighth with back-to-back two-out doubles by Jack St. Clair and Anthony Critelli. With the two insurance runs in the ninth, it appeared the Crusaders would escape with a win. The Big Green rally enabled it to beat Holy Cross for the sixth straight meeting and improve its record at home to 69-14 since the park was renovated prior to the 2009 season.
The comeback left junior Jay Graham (1-0) — normally a corner infielder — as the victor for getting the final out in the ninth, the only batter he faced. Charnin-Aker finished his day after tossing five-plus innings, allowing eight hits and three runs without walking a batter and striking out two.
Both Purritano and Lombardi produced three RBIs for Dartmouth, while Roulis, Keller, Purritano and Parisi each had two knocks in the 12-hit attack.
All but one Holy Cross starter had at least one of the team’s 11 hits, with Evan Ocello, Cipolla and St. Clair each collecting a pair. Perry was the only Crusader to drive in two runs thanks to his long ball.
Dartmouth will host Yale (12-15, 5-3 Ivy) for four games this weekend in a Rolfe Division showdown. The doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday will begin at noon, and all four games will be available to watch through Big Green Insider on the Ivy League Digital Network. Holy Cross travels to Lehigh for a four-game Patriot League series this weekend, also with noon twinbills on Saturday and Sunday.
Notes: Parisi entered his final trip to the plate today hitless in 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position this year … this was Dartmouth’s second walk-off win of the year, having beaten Columbia on Saturday in 10 innings, 3-2 … the Big Green had scored four or more runs in an inning just four times in the first 22 games before accomplishing the feat twice today.