CHARLESTON, S.C. — For the second straight game, freshman Trevor Johnson hit a leadoff home run, and sophomore Cole O’Connor threw six strong innings to lead Dartmouth (5-2) to a 7-2 victory over The Citadel (5-11) at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park on Thursday afternoon. Sophomore Nate Ostmo also homered for the Big Green and drove in three runs while three Dartmouth pitchers contained a Bulldog offense that scored a school-record 34 runs two days earlier.
O’Connor (1-0) earned his first career victory for the Big Green by yielding just two runs on five hits over his six stanzas, walking just the first batter he faced while fanning two. The right-hander needed just 76 pitches to get his 18 outs before giving way to freshman Michael Parsons, who struck out three in 2.1 innings. A pair of errors and a walk in the ninth loaded the bases with one out, but senior Chris Burkholder shut the door by getting the final two outs on strikes for his third save of the season.
This was the first game for Dartmouth since taking a three-game series at Miami on March 3-5 due to winter exams. In that series finale, Johnson walloped the first pitch of the game for his first career home run. This time he waited until the second pitch to deposit the ball over the left-field fence for an instant 1-0 lead.
In the top of the second, South Carolina native Michael Calamari got things started with a single up the middle before Ostmo got a 2-2 pitch to his liking and sent it just beyond the fence to the right of the scoreboard in left field to make it a 3-0 Big Green lead.
Barrett Charpia got one run back for the Bulldogs in the bottom half with a his fourth long ball of the year, but O’Connor quickly retired the side in order to preserve the two-run lead.
Dartmouth knocked Citadel starter Dylan Spence from the game in the fourth when Ostmo poked a one-out single back through the box, senior Adam Gauthier walked for the first of three times and Johnson shot a single through the right side to plate Ostmo from second. In came Ryan Stamler from the bullpen, who foiled the rally with his first two of six strikeouts over 2.2 innings of work.
In the sixth, Jonathan Sabo gave the Bulldogs a glimmer of hope with a leadoff double. O’Connor managed to get two outs on grounders with Sabo taking third, but Charpia delivered the two-out RBI with a solid single between short and third, cutting into the Big Green’s three-run lead.
Junior Dustin Shirley gave Dartmouth some breathing room in the eighth when he sliced a two-out double down the right-field line with the bases loaded to drive in two runs and make it 6-2. Ostmo provided his third RBI of the day in the ninth with a sacrifice fly to left, plating freshman Blake Crossing who had drawn a walk with one down and taken third on another Calamari single.
Johnson reached four times with three knocks and a hit by pitch, plus scored two runs and drove in two to lead the 11-hit Big Green attack, while Shirley, Calamari and Ostmo collected two hits apiece.
Spence (0-1) suffered the loss in his first start of the season, surrendering four runs on seven hits and two walks over 3.1 innings. Charpia and Sabo both had two hits, but the rest of the Bulldog lineup were only able to come up with two more combined.
The second of the four games in the series will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday with Dartmouth sending Jack Fossand (0-0, 3.00) to the mound and The Citadel countering with ace J.P. Sears (2-1, 2.05).
Notes: This was Dartmouth’s first-ever game in the state of South Carolina in the 3,806th game in program history ... O’Connor got his first win in his 11th career start despite a career ERA of 3.25 with eight no-decisions.