Critical Rolfe Division Showdown with Yale in Hanover
The Games: Dartmouth (7-16, 2-6) vs. Yale (12-15, 5-3)
Location: Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park (2,000), Hanover, N.H.
First pitches: Saturday, April 12 at noon / Sunday, April 13 at noon
Series Record vs. Yale: Bulldogs lead 119-88-1
Video, Audio: Ivy League Digital Network
Complete Weekend Notes
Rolfe Division Showdown
Dartmouth finds itself in unfamiliar territory of late, three games off the pace in the Rolfe Division standings after winning the last six division titles. But the Big Green can get right back into the race this weekend as they host Yale, which owns that three-game lead.
Dartmouth will need to win the series by taking at least three of the four games to remain within striking distance, while a four-game sweep would put the Green a game ahead. Otherwise, the Bulldogs will maintain or extend their advantage with just eight games remaining in conference play.
Last Week in Review
• In its first home Ivy weekend of the year, Dartmouth split two with Columbia before Penn swept a twinbill, the first time an opponent had done so at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park since the renovation prior to the 2009 season.
• Jeff Keller line a walk-off double in the 10th against the Lions, just over the shortstop’s outstretched glove, to score Matt Parisi from first.
• Duncan Robinson picked up his team-leading fourth win by tossing 3.1 scoreless innings in relief of Beau Sulser, who yielded a pair of unearned runs while striking out a career-high 11.
• After being shut out in the opener versus Penn, the Big Green jumped out to a 3-0 lead through three innings, only to have the Quakers take the lead in the seventh to beat Dartmouth, 7-4.
• The Big Green picked up a pair of one-run wins in non-conference action this week, besting Boston College on the road, 2-1, before a thrilling 8-7 triumph over Holy Cross here on Wednesday.
• Chris England flustered the Eagles, picking up his second win in as many starts against BC as he allowed just one run over six stanzas.
• Rookie Chris Burkholder collected his first save with an scoreless — but eventful — ninth.
• After coughing up a 4-0 first-inning lead, Dartmouth rallied for four runs in the ninth to beat Holy Cross.
• Nick Lombardi and each had hits with the bases loaded, the latter to end the game. The Big Green had just three hits with the bags juiced all season up to that point.
Last Time Against the Bulldogs
In a bit of role reversal from this year, Dartmouth entered the series with a three-game lead on Yale, then proceeded to take three of four to all but clinch the division title with one weekend remaining. Dustin Selzer homered and drove in three runs to support the complete-game effort of Cole Sulser in a 9-1 win. In the second game, both teams scored solitary runs in the second, third and ninth innings, but the Big Green put four on the board in the 10th to sweep the doubleheader with a 7-3 victory. Matt MacDowell drove in four runs while falling a triple shy of the cycle, Selzer drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th and three Dartmouth hurlers struck out 10 Bulldogs.
In the Sunday twinbill, Yale got a masterful performance from David Hickey who tossed a four-hit shutout to outduel Mitch Horacek in a 2-0 game. Michael Johnson and Michael Danielak returned the favor in the finale as the duo scattered nine hits in a 5-0 Big Green victory. Ennis Coble had three hits and scored twice to pace Dartmouth at the plate.
The Overall Record vs. Yale
• The two teams have met 208 times on the diamond with the Bulldogs leading 119-88-1, although Dartmouth has won 14 of the last 19.
• The Big Green have swept the Bulldogs four of the last seven series in Hanover, and Yale is the only Ivy team without a win at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park since the renovation in 2009.
• Dartmouth is 48-38 at home against the Bulldogs since 1930.
• Big Green head coach Bob Whalen enters the series with 44-42 mark versus Yale.
Scouting the Bulldogs
• Yale is in the driver’s seat in the Rolfe Division with wins in five of its last six league games. But the Bulldogs did drop a non-conference doubleheader during the week to Fairfield.
• There hasn’t been much offense in Ivy games thus far, and Yale has averaged just 3.5 runs per game (Dartmouth is at 2.6). Overall, the Bulldogs are hitting .257 and scoring 4.4 runs per outing, but have hit just three home runs.
• Green Campbell has been a pest at the top of the order with a league-leading .433 on-base percentage, while Jacob Hunter leads the Bulldogs in average (.328) and slugging (.507) thanks to eight doubles and a pair of triples.
• The pitching staff has been similar to Dartmouth’s with an overall ERA at 6.00, but much better in the league at 3.66 as it has allowed just 52 hits in 64 Ivy innings.
• Chris Moates serves as the long man out of the pen and has a solid 2.57 ERA and a pair of saves in 21 innings, while two-way player Cale Hanson has three saves in 10 appearances.
• Defensively Yale has been exceptional in conference play with just four errors in eight games for a .986 fielding percentage. Overall, however, the Bulldogs have committed 34 errors and are fielding at a .965 clip while throwing out 30 percent of would-be base stealers.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• In the first doubleheader, Dartmouth will send sophomore RHP (1-3, 4.25) to the mound followed by senior RHP Louis Concato (0-2, 3.52). Last week Sulser came one out away from a shutout while striking out a career-high 11 batters, but settled for a no-decision when an error led to two runs. Concato had the longest outing of his career in a seven-inning stint against Columbia, but was stuck with a 5-4 loss after surrendering four runs. Yale is expected to counter with a pair of right-handers as well in Chasen Ford (2-3, 4.66) and Michael Coleman (1-3, 6.75). Last week Ford shut out Cornell on two hits over six innings, but like Sulser did not get a decision in an extra-inning win. Coleman pitched into the ninth of a tie game but took the loss in a 6-4 defeat.
• On Sunday, the Big Green will feature sophomore RHP (0-4, 5.00) and freshman RHP Michael Concato (0-2, 4.88). The former has flashed dominant stuff at times in his first two league starts, but has been handed a loss in both games despite a quality start. Concato had his best outing against 18th-ranked Kansas in a 3-2 win, but gave up five runs in 6.1 stanzas to Penn. For the Bulldogs, head coach John Stuper will give the game ball to their best starter thus far in RHP Chris Lanham (4-1, 3.96) for game one, followed by LHP David Hickey (3-2, 6.44), who has never allowed a run to the Big Green in 10.2 career innings against them. And Lanham’s 0.68 ERA in two league starts is the lowest among Ivy pitchers.
What’s Up Next
Dartmouth will host UMass Lowell on Tuesday to wrap up a stretch of 12 games in which 11 were played in Hanover. Next weekend the Big Green travel to Providence, R.I., for a four-game series against the Brown Bears, which enter this weekend winless in eight tries against Ivy teams.
Wild Walkoff Win
Trailing 7-4 in the ninth on April 9, Dartmouth rallied for four runs to beat Holy Cross for the sixth straight time. Junior delivered the game-tying hit with a two-run single, then junior lined a one-out single off the fence in left with the bases loaded to end the game. Coupled with the 2-1 win at Boston College the day before, the Big Green scored back-to-back victories for the first time since the end of last April.
Two Pitches, One Win
Normally a corner infielder, junior Jay Graham has been pressed into service on the mound on occasion due to a thin bullpen this season. On April 9, he entered with two down in the ninth and needed just two pitches to record the final out. When Dartmouth rallied for four runs in the bottom half, he suddenly has his first career victory. Now he is making another pitch to pick up another kind of victory by running for Student Assembly President. He and his running mate, , remind all students to get out and rock the vote on Monday.
Whalen Nearing 500
That 8-7 win over Holy Cross was the 496th for head coach in 25 seasons at Dartmouth. With four more victories, he will become the only Big Green coach in any sport to record 500 triumphs in a career. He currently ranks fourth among coaches from the Ivy League schools, trailing only Penn’s Bob Sneddon (634 wins, 1971-2005), Princeton’s Bill Clarke (564, 1909-44) and Cornell’s Ted Thoren (541, 1962-90).
England Owns Boston Again
We’re not talking the 1770s here, folks. We’re talking about junior , who has a hold on the Boston College Eagles. As a freshman, England made his first career start at BC and defeated the Eagles, 9-6. Then on April 8, he made his second career start, also at Boston College, and once again earned a victory by hurling six innings of one-run ball in the 2-1 triumph. England is 3-0 in his career, with his other win coming against Hartford in 2012.
Burkholder? More Like Burksaver
With closer Thomas Olson still unavailable to pitch this season, freshman was thrust into a save situation at Boston College to preserve a 2-1 lead in the ninth. The rookie gave up a leadoff single and hit the next batter to put the winning runs on base, but managed to wiggle out of the jam and pick up his first career save. It was just the second save of the year for the Big Green and first since went four innings at FIU in the second game of the year.
Doubleheader Loss at Home
Dartmouth has hosted 28 doubleheaders at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park since the renovation before the 2009 season, and it had never done worse than a split in the first 27, sweeping 17 of them. That changed on April 6 when Penn took both ends of a twinbill to complete its first two Ivy weekends with a perfect 8-0 mark. Even with the two defeats, the Big Green are still 69-14 all-time at the venue.
In the first game against Columbia, Dartmouth recorded its first walkoff win in nearly a year when lined a double into left-center to score from first base. And then the 8-7 win over Holy Cross four days later gave the Green their second walkoff win of the season, matching the total from the previous two seasons.
Sulser Strikes Out 11
Before climbing the hill against Columbia on April 5, sophomore had never struck out more than four batters in any collegiate outing, whether as a starter or reliever. But by the time he walked off the mound with two outs in the seventh, he had fanned 11 Lion hitters, the most by a Big Green pitcher in 364 days. Kyle Hunter whiffed 11 Princeton Tigers back on April 6, 2013. But Sulser came up short of the highest strikeout total his posted by his older brother, . That would be 13, which came against Cornell on April 9, 2011.
Gab on the Green
• Dartmouth is 3-0 in extra-inning games this season, but has not played more than three such games in a season since going 3-3 in 2008.
• Before rallying to beat Holy Cross, the Big Green had not won a game in which it had trailed heading into the ninth inning since turning the trick against Army on the spring trip to Florida on March 16, 2013.
• Conversely, Dartmouth has won its last 42 games when entering the ninth with a lead.
• Sophomore Nick Ruppert owns an eight-game hitting streak — the longest for a Big Green hitter this year — and is batting .344 while slugging .844 with four homers in those eight contests.
• Senior needs just three more doubles to break the career record at Dartmouth set by Scott Shirrell ’04 (51).
• As a team, the Big Green own a fielding percentage of .981, the eighth best mark in Division I, and Dartmouth has not committed an error in any of its past four games.
Junior Thomas Roulis has played a flawless second base thus far, successfully handling all 111 of his chances in the field. His errorless streak goes back even further than that as he has not booted a ball since his freshman year on April 24, 2012, spanning 35 games in the field and 169 chances.