|May 5 • 11:30 a.m.||May 5 • ~2:30 p.m.||May 6 • 12 p.m.|
|ILN • Live Stats||ILN • Live Stats||ILN • Live Stats|
|Probable Starting Pitchers||Probable Starting Pitchers||Probable Starting Pitchers|
|D: RHP Cole O’Connor (4-4, 4.14)||D: RHP Jack Fossand (3-3, 4.70)||D: RHP Clay Chatham (1-4, 5.66)|
|P: RHP Ben Gross (4-4, 3.99)||P: LHP Ryan Smith (1-4, 5.32)||P: RHP James Proctor (0-3, 5.90)|
Between games of the doubleheader (approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the first game), Dartmouth will recognize its 10 seniors on the field — Marc Bachman, Clay Chatham, Mike Concato, Sam Fichthorn, Jack Fossand, Justin Fowler, Kyle Holbrook, Patrick Peterson, Hayden Rappoport and Dustin Shirley. The group has been a part of 73 victories, 46 of those coming in Ivy League play.
Key Home Series with Princeton
With two conference series left in the season, Dartmouth controls its own destiny in relation to qualifying for the Ivy League Championship Series. Should the Big Green win all six of these games, they would advance to the ILCS (and currently even has a chance — albeit slim — of hosting the event). One loss would mean Columbia would need to lose once in its final series for Dartmouth to advance. Two losses and the Lions would need to lose twice. Many other factors come into play with three losses. It all begins with the Tigers this weekend.
The Overall Record vs. Princeton
• The Tigers have the advantage in the all-time series, going 99-86 against Dartmouth.
• While the Big Green have won 16 of the last 27 meetings, Princeton has won 10 of the last 15.
• Princeton was the next-to-last Ivy team to win a game at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park and is 3-7 at the venue. The Tigers are 21-23 on the site since the field was dedicated in Red Rolfe’s honor in 1970.
• Dartmouth head coach Bob Whalen has a 27-39 record against the Tigers.
• The two teams first met on the diamond in 1880 with Princeton winning both contests, 2-0 and 9-4. The Tigers won 17 of the first 18 games.
Scouting the Tigers
• Princeton began the year with seven straight defeats before splitting its next 20 games, but is currently on a seven-game skid — six at home and in the Ivy League — after an encouraging series victory at Columbia on April 21-22.
• The Tigers sport the lowest overall batting average at .243, but they are sixth against Ivy teams at .250, ahead of Dartmouth in seventh at .244.
• Two-sport star Jesper Horsted is hitting .385/.487/.446 in league play to lead all Ancient Eight players in on-base percentage, and he is the only Tiger hitting over .300 (.315) on the season.
• As a team, Princeton has hit 13 home runs, last in the league, with Joseph Flynn topping the team with four and Conor Nolan adding three.
• The pitchers have an ERA of 5.81 on the season, sixth in the league, but is one of the better power staffs in the league striking out more than eight batters per nine innings.
• Against the league, that team ERA drops to 4.78, led by Ben Gross at 2.36 who owns four of the Tigers’ 10 victories.
• Eli Kimbell has been the top reliever, posting an ERA of 2.00 in 27.0 innings while allowing opponents to hit a mere .194.
• The defense has been shaky with a league-worst .955 fielding percentage and 54 errors. But Princeton is effective against the running game, gunning down nearly 30 percent of would-be base stealers, second-best among Ivy teams.
Last Year Against Princeton
These two teams split a doubleheader in Hanover last year with the Tigers taking game one, 4-2, before Dartmouth took the nightcap, 7-6. Princeton’s Chris Giglio outdueled Michael Danielak in the opener with each hurling six of the seven innings. The Big Green struck first in the second on an Adam Gauthier two-run double, but the Tigers clawed back in the third to take a 3-2 lead on three separate RBI singles. After an insurance run in the fifth, Ryan Smith (not the former Dartmouth closer) shut the door in the seventh for the save.
Dustin Shirley, Justin Fowler and Michael Calamari each drove in two runs to help the Green secure the victory in game two. Dartmouth answered solitary Tiger runs in the first and third before taking a 4-2 lead in the fourth on a Fowler RBI triple and Calamari’s single that followed. The pair drove in runs in the fifth as part of a three-run inning, providing the deciding runs. Cole O'Connor picked up the win after yielding three earned runs over five-plus frames, while Chris Burkholder got the final four outs after a two-out, two-run homer by Princeton in the eighth closed the gap to one.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• Dartmouth expects its trio of right-handers to once again start the three games, but that is up in the air. The Big Green have started each conference weekend with junior RHP Cole O'Connor (4-4, 4.15), who was stellar last week against Brown with seven shutout innings. For the second game of the doubleheader, senior RHP Jack Fossand (3-3, 4.70) has had four quality starts in his five Ivy League outings, including his appearance against the Bears with 6.1 innings of three-run ball without a walk to go with five strikeouts. Senior RHP Clay Chatham (1-4, 5.66) pitched well enough against Brown to earn his first Ivy victory, giving up just one run in five-plus frames while striking out seven. Dartmouth did go on to win the game in 13, 2-1.
• Princeton has three pitchers averaging more than one strikeout per nine innings scheduled to take the mound this weekend against a Big Green lineup that has struck out less than any other Ivy team. First up is RHP Ben Gross (4-4, 3.99) who leads the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio with 48 whiffs and just six bases on balls. The Tigers will go with LHP Ryan Smith (1-4, 5.32) in game two. The southpaw has struck out eight batters in no more than five innings in each of his last two starts. To conclude the series, RHP James Proctor (0-3, 5.90) will get the ball in search of his first win, though he pitched well enough against Yale last week to get one allowing two earned runs over seven innings on three hits with seven strikeouts.
What’s Up Next
Dartmouth added a game to its schedule against Middlebury on Wednesday, May 9, with first pitch at 4 p.m. at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park. The regular season will then conclude at Harvard on May 13-14 (yes, Sunday and Monday) with a three-game series that could decide who advances to the Ivy League Championship Series.
Last Week in Review
• The three-game series against Brown was stretched out over four days due to weather, but Dartmouth managed to earn a series victory over the Bears, taking the first and third games.
• The two teams engaged in a classic pitchers’ duel in the opener with Cole O'Connor shutting out Brown on five hits over seven innings. But the Bears clawed out an unearned run in the ninth to tie the game before Dustin Shirley (the Ivy Player of the Week) hit a walk-off homer for the 2-1 win.
• Brown pulled out the second game after blowing a 4-0 lead in the eighth, with Shirley keying the four-run frame with a two-run double. The Bears pushed across the go-ahead run on a two-out single in the ninth, then closed the door for a 5-4 victory.
• Great pitching was on display in the finale as well with the teams both scoring a run in the sixth, Dartmouth’s coming on a solo shot by Nate Ostmo. Austen Michel came in to preserve the tie in the seventh and proceeded to twirl seven shutout innings to allow the Big Green to pull out another 2-1 win, this time in 13 innings, on an RBI single by Sean Sullivan.
Longest Game in 15 Years
It took Dartmouth 13 innings to knock off Brown on May Day, matching the longest game by innings during head coach Bob Whalen’s 29-year tenure. The only other 13-inning game for Whalen came on March 20, 2008 in a 10-8 win at Pacific. There are 13 games in Big Green history of at least 13 innings in length (Dartmouth has a 7-6 record in those events) but only six — spanning 3,872 contests — that have taken longer to finish:
Now That’s Relief
Sophomore Austen Michel has started two games, but mostly has been a reliever. And in his first 11 relief outings, he threw at least two innings nine times. But then he pulled off a Herculean outing against Brown on May 1, throwing seven shutout innings while yielding just one hit before Dartmouth pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the 13th. The right-hander retired the last 17 batters he faced and threw just 71 pitches in the longest relief outing for a Big Green pitcher during head coach Bob Whalen’s 29-year tenure. Michel has also thrown 19 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, lowering his ERA to 2.54 on the season, which leads the Ivy League.
Dartmouth produced a pair of walk-off wins in the series against Brown, the first ones in over two years. On Saturday, senior Dustin Shirley belted a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Big Green to a 2-1 victory, the first walk-off bomb for the team in four years (Matt Parisi vs. Harvard on April 27, 2014). When the final game of the series was finally played on Tuesday, junior Sean Sullivan made it worth the wait with a one-out single to left-center in the 13th to plate classmate Steffen Torgersen for another 2-1 triumph.
Shirley Ivy Player of the Week
Senior Dustin Shirley became the second Big Green player to be named the Ivy League Player of the Week this year for his performance in the doubleheader against Brown on April 28. In the two games, Shirley went 4-for-8 with three doubles and a walk-off homer, scoring three runs and driving in three as well. He is now tied for third in the league with 11 doubles on the season and leads Dartmouth with 21 RBIs and a .446 slugging percentage, and tied for the team lead with three homers.
After suffering the worst start of his three-year career with the Big Green at Yale, junior Cole O'Connor provided perhaps his best, twirling seven scoreless stanzas against Brown. The right-hander had only had one other start among his 26 in which he did not allow a run, but he didn’t pitch past the fourth in that game. And this was his fourth-longest outing as well.
Getting Started on the Right Foot
Over the last five games, the starting rotation has been stellar for Dartmouth with a 2.54 ERA over 28.1 innings, striking out 18 and walking just three batters. But the bullpen has been even better, yielding just four earned runs over 19.2 innings for an ERA of 1.83.
After some sloppy play early in the season, Dartmouth has been a much better defensive team in Ivy play, leading the league with a .988 fielding percentage. The Big Green have committed an error in just five of the 15 conference contests, with a total of just seven.
Junior Sean Sullivan continues to top the Ivy league in batting with his .347 average, though Penn’s Eduardo Malinowski is just one point behind. Sullivan also tops the circuit in on-base percentage (.448), but only two points ahead of Cornell’s Dale Wickham. On the pitching side, sophomore Austen Michel leads the league with his 2.54 ERA — the only reliever who is qualified — and is tied for the lead with six saves.
Series Dominance at Biondi
Dartmouth has played a total of 39 series against Ivy League teams (including the 2009 Ivy League Championship Series) at Biondi Park since it was added before the 2009 season. Of those 39 series, the Big Green have won 22, split 15 (all in doubleheaders against teams from the now defunct Gehrig Division) and lost just two. Dartmouth has also won 11 of the 12 home series in that span that were scheduled to be at least three games in length, the most recent victim being Brown.