HANOVER, N.H. — Trailing 10-7 in the bottom of the eighth, the Dartmouth baseball team scored eight times against the Boston College bullpen to defeat the Eagles for the first time since 2002 and extend its home winning streak to 16 games. Dartmouth (18-6) had lost eight consecutive meetings with Boston College (13-17), but pulled out the victory to win its sixth straight game.
Sophomore Ennis Coble paced the Big Green’s 20-hit attack with four hits and four RBIs, including a two-run single in the fateful eighth frame that tied the score. Six other Dartmouth hitters had at least two knocks, including a trio of juniors with three apiece — Jake Carlson, David Turnbull and Joe Sclafani — while senior Brandon Parks socked his first career home run.
Only the fifth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels have a longer winning streak at their home park having won 17 straight entering tonight’s contest with East Carolina.
Clinging to the three-run lead in the eighth, the Eagles turned to left-hander Steve Green to subdue the Big Green bats. He retired the first hitter he faced, but Sclafani started the rally by poking a double down the right-field line. Walks to senior Sam Bean and sophomore Chris O’Dowd ended Green’s afternoon, with right-hander Hunter Gordon trotting in from the bullpen. Freshman Dustin Selzer turned on a 3-1 pitch that third baseman Anthony Melchionda somehow was able to glove, but his throw to second in an attempt to start a double play was high and wide, leaving everyone safe with a run crossing the plate.
Immediately Dartmouth took advantage of the miscue as Coble dropped a two-run single into right-center to tie the game at 10. Senior Jeff Onstott followed with a run-scoring single to give the Big Green their first lead of the game. After Carlson hit a bouncer through the right side of the infield to make it 12-10, Boston College summoned its right fielder, Andrew Lawrence, into pitch. Parks pulled the first pitch he saw from the southpaw to left field for another RBI single, and one out later Sclafani capped the outburst with a two-run triple to the right-center gap.
Freshman reliever Mike Dodakian surrendered just a lead-off double in the top of the ninth before retiring the next three hitters to close out the victory.
The home winning streak was certainly in jeopardy after the Eagles scored four times in the top of the first. Melchionda laced a two-run double during the inning, sandwiched between RBI singles off the bats of Garret Smith and Lawrence.
The Big Green bounced right back by loading the bases on singles by Sclafani and Bean and a walk to O’Dowd with nobody out. Coble brought home the first run with a single, Onstott lofted a sacrifice fly and Carlson ripped a double to score O’Dowd to cut the deficit to one at 4-3.
Matt Hamlet led off the Eagles’ second inning with a triple and scored on a Brad Zapenas sacrifice fly. Dartmouth got that run back in the fourth when Carlson trotted home on Sclafani’s fly to center. Another lead-off triple by Boston College in the fifth, this time by Matt McGovern — who was a perfect 4-for-4 on the day — set up Melchionda’s RBI single, boosting the Eagle lead back to two runs at 6-4.
Parks hit his big fly in the sixth, down the right-field line and off the roof of Leverone Field House, once again making it a one-run game. But when Boston College plated four more in the seventh, three coming on Lawrence’s third round-tripper of the year, the situation seemed dire for Dartmouth.
O’Dowd began the home half of the seventh by legging out a double, however, then came around to score when Coble tripled into the right-field corner. Onstott followed with a line single to right for the seventh Big Green run, leading to the eighth-inning explosion.
Senior Colin Britton (1-0) earned the victory with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief, his first victory since April 28, 2009. Helping to bridge the gap to the later innings was senior reliever Dan Ternowchek, who allowed just one run in 2.2 innings.
Each of the seven Boston College pitchers yielded at least one run in the game as Gordon (1-1) took the loss without retiring a batter. McGovern wasn’t the only Eagle with four hits as Melchionda and Lawrence each produced a quartet of hits and RBIs.
The home winning streak will sit on the back burner for a week as Dartmouth hits the road for its next five contests, beginning with a non-conference tilt at Holy Cross tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. Boston College also plays on Wednesday with a scheduled game at UMass at 3 p.m.
Notes: The last Dartmouth team to begin a season 18-6 or better came 86 years ago when the 1925 Big Green squad was 19-5 en route to a 24-5 season … The 16-game home winning streak is the second longest in the program’s history — Dartmouth won 32 consecutive games in Hanover from the beginning of the 1923 season into the 1926 campaign.