IRVINE, Calif. — The Dartmouth baseball team tried to dig out a five-run hole in the final four innings, but fell a run short as host UC Irvine (13-8) took a second 5-4 victory in as many days over the Big Green at Anteater Ballpark. Tommy Reyes’ two-run homer in the fifth proved to be the decisive runs, while senior Joe Sclafani was a perfect 3-for-3 for Dartmouth (2-9), which lost its fifth straight game.
Dartmouth junior southpaw Michael Johnson breezed through the first three innings, retiring all nine Anteaters he faced with just one ball leaving the infield. UC Irvine caught a break leading off in the fourth, however, when D.J. Crumlich’s routine fly ball was lost in the twilight and fell in for a double. Reyes laid down a perfect bunt single to third and took second when the throw to first got away, which also allowed the game’s first run to score. After Reyes advanced to third on a deep fly to center, Jeff Stephens pulled off the suicide squeeze for a 2-0 lead.
In the fifth, Johnson ran into more trouble when Conner Spencer started the inning with a single and Chris Rabago earned a free pass. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, and Spencer scored on a sacrifice fly by Crumlich. Reyes then pulled his second four-bagger of the year over the fence in left to put the Anteaters up, 5-0.
Meanwhile, the UC Irvine starting pitcher, Andrew Thurman, was putting goose eggs on the board over the first five frames, allowing just one hit and a pair of walks. But the Dartmouth hitters started to solve him the third time through the lineup, beginning with a one-out double off the bat of Sclafani. A passed ball sent him scampering to third, and he scored on a single to left by freshman Matt Parisi. Junior Chris O'Dowd then dropped a single into left before sophomore Dustin Selzer boomed a double to deep right-center, scoring both runners and bringing the Big Green with two runs.
In the eighth, Dartmouth missed out on a scoring opportunity when Sclafani smoked a lead-off double off of lefty reliever Mark Trentacosta. Parisi sent Sclafani to third with a grounder to second, but O’Dowd could not check his swing for the second out. The Anteaters summoned the right-handed Race Parmenter to face the righty-swinging Selzer, who was frozen on a called third strike to end the threat.
The Big Green did touch Parmenter for a run in the ninth as junior Ennis Coble stroke a triple into the right-field corner and scored one out later on a ground ball to second courtesy of pinch hitter Thomas Roulis. A two-out single by senior David Turnbull put the tying run on base, but Parmenter closed out his second save by inducing a grounder to third.
Thurman (2-1) picked up the victory after surrendering three runs on five hits and a pair of walks while striking out three in six innings.
Suffering the loss was Johnson (1-1), who tossed seven innings and gave up the five runs, all earned, on six hits and a walk with three whiffs. He retired the side in order in four of his seven stanzas, but five of the six hits he allowed came in the fateful fourth and fifth innings.
Dartmouth finished the game with eight hits, and UC Irvine had just seven. Sclafani singled, doubled twice and walked, plus scored the first Big Green run to spearhead the Dartmouth offense. Spencer and Reyes each had two hits for the Anteaters, with the former scoring twice and driving in two with his long ball.
Dartmouth will attempt to salvage the final game of the three-games series tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. (EDT) before returning to Hanover.