Ivy Season Opens on the Road at Penn, Columbia
The Games: Dartmouth (12-1, 0-0) at Penn (13-7, 0-0), Columbia (7-12, 0-0)
Location: Meiklejohn Stadium (850), Philadelphia, Pa.; Robertson Field at Satow Stadium (300)
First pitches: Saturday, March 30 (DH) at noon; Sunday, March 31 (DH) at noon
Series Record vs. Penn: Big Green lead 85-78-1
Series Record vs. Columbia: Big Green lead 100-69
Audio (Penn games only) - Big Green Insider
Complete Game Notes
Start of Ivy Play
Dartmouth is looking to have its stellar start carry over into the Ivy League slate with doubleheaders at Penn and Columbia this weekend. The Big Green have won the Rolfe Division for five straight seasons, which they have turned into two Ivy League crowns. But they have come up short in the Ivy Championship Series the last two years, falling in the decisive third game at Princeton in 2011 and Cornell in 2012.
No team in the Ancient Eight has won more league contests than Dartmouth over the last 13 seasons dating back to 2000. The Big Green sport a 161-99 record (.619) in conference play in that span while winning eight division titles.
Last Week in Review
• Returning from an 8-1 trip in Florida, Dartmouth played just one game as a tune-up for the Ivy League schedule, besting Siena in a bit of a slugfest in the home opener on Wednesday, 15-7.
• The Big Green are now 18-6 in home openers under head coach Bob Whalen with victories in 12 of their last 13.
• Every player in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit, led by junior Dustin Selzer and sophomore Matt MacDowell with three apiece.
• Junior Jeff Keller and sophomore Nick Lombardi both cracked home runs that cleared the netting and landed on Park Street.
• The Big Green starting pitchers had all thrown at least five innings in the first 12 games, but sophomore Adam Frank lasted just 2.1 innings against the Saints.
• The bullpen was up to the task, however, yielding just two runs over 6.2 innings with freshman Michael Danielak finishing things with a flourish by striking out the side in the ninth.
Last Time Against the Quakers
Last year, Dartmouth swept the twinbill in Hanover against Penn, winning a closely contested first game, 6-3, before cruising to an 11-2 triumph. The Big Green fell behind, 3-1, in the fourth frame of the seven-inning opener, but Joe Sclafani ’12 popped a two-run homer in the bottom half to tie the game. Then in the sixth, Sclafani drove in the go-ahead run and Thomas Roulis provided some insurance with a two-run single. Left-hander Mitch Horacek went the distance, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits and a pair of walks while striking out seven.
In the nightcap, hit a two-run double in the first and doubled, homered and drove in four runs to lead the offense in the win. shut out the Quakers for the first seven stanzas before tiring in the eighth. He finished having surrendered the two runs on five hits and three walks with a couple of strikeouts.
The Overall Record vs. Penn
• The Big Green have the upper hand in the all-time series against Penn with an 85-78-1 lead.
• In the past 15 seasons, the Big Green have swept Penn seven times, while the Quakers have won both contests five times with the two sides splitting the series just thrice.
• Coach Whalen is 26-18 against Penn during his tenure, including a 4-2 mark in extra innings.
• Penn’s Meiklejohn Stadium opened in 2000, and Dartmouth sports a 4-8 record there. Every series has been a sweep for either team at the venue.
Scouting the Quakers
• Penn is off to a very good start to its season with a 13-7 record entering the doubleheader, including nine of its last 11 contests.
• While the Big Green have the best offensive numbers in the league, the Quakers aren’t far behind with a .294 team average and .425 slugging percentage. They have a nice combination of power and speed with more than two stolen bases a game at a success rate of over 86 percent. Ryan Deitrich leads the league with a .459 average to go along with seven swipes.
• The pitching staff has been solid with a 4.01 team ERA, but is not especially overpowering at 5.5 strikeouts per nine innings (bottom 40 nationally).
• In the field, Penn has a respectable .959 fielding percentage while gunning down 13 of 34 would-be base stealers (38.2 percent).
Probable Starting Pitchers
• Dartmouth Head Coach will open up with senior RHP Cole Sulser (2-0, 1.00), the Ivy League’s leader in ERA. The fifth-year senior somehow has never faced the Quakers and this season has pitched six innings in each start, allowing just two runs his last time out when going on four days’ rest. He has eight this time around. In the nine-inning game, senior LHP Kyle Hunter (1-0, 1.50) gets the nod and has not given up a run in either of his two starts this season with 15 strikeouts in 12 innings. His only appearance against Penn came three years ago when he allowed just two runs over seven innings, but did not get the decision in a 3-2 Big Green win.
• Dartmouth will see a pair of right-handers, and should Penn keep its rotation in order from last weekend, those pitchers will be Connor Cuff (3-1, 3.91) and Jeff McGarry (2-2, 3.86). While opponents are hitting an even .300 against Cuff, he has won his last three starts with an ERA of 2.33. McGarry, meanwhile, has allowed just one run in each of his last two starts, beating George Washington and Lafayette.
Last Time Against the Lions
Last year, Columbia ended the Big Green’s 28-game home winning streak in the first game of the doubleheader, just hanging on for a 4-3 win. The Lions scored three in the fifth and another in the sixth to take a 4-0 lead into the final inning. But Dartmouth stormed back with three runs and put the tying run at third with two down before being subdued. The Big Green then pounded Columbia in the finale, 11-3, as launched two homers and drove in seven runs. Michael Johnson went six innings and struck out 10 before Max Langford ’12 picked up a save with three scoreless innings of relief.
The Overall Record vs. Columbia
• The 11-3 win last year gave Dartmouth exactly 100 victories against the Lions while Columbia has just 69 wins on its ledger in the series.
• The Big Green have won 15 of the past 22 meetings, although Columbia did win one of the two showdowns in the Ivy Championship Series.
• Dartmouth head coach has a 34-18 mark in games against Columbia.
• Columbia has been playing on FieldTurf on its home park — Robertson Field at Satow Stadium — since 2008. The Big Green are 6-1 on it and 14-9 in New York since the divisional format was installed for the Ivy League in 1993.
Scouting the Lions
• Columbia has played a challenging schedule with road games at national powers like Arizona and Miami, plus four games at a very good Lamar squad. The Lions had won five straight against a mix of New York Tech, Army and Manhattan before the Jaspers won the second game of a twinbill on Wednesday.
• Not surprisingly, the offense has struggled against that competition with a .233 average. Alex Black has been the Lions’ best hitter with a .295 average and half of their six home runs. Dartmouth pitchers will have to keep an eye on Jordan Serena and Nick Crucet should they get on base as the duo has combined to steal 16 bases in 17 attempts.
• The pitching has been rather good with a 4.21 team ERA and 122 strikeouts in 154 innings. The top three starters all have strikeout-to-walk ratios of at least three.
• Columbia has fielded about as well as Penn with a .958 percentage, but has been the best team in the league at gunning down base stealers at over 50 percent.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• The Lions will go up against a pair of left-handers. For the seven-inning contest, junior LHP (3-0, 2.57) will take the mound. Last time out, he struck out a career-high eight batters in just five frames without allowing an earned run. The final game of the weekend will see senior LHP (3-0, 1.89) toe the slab as the reigning Ivy League Pitcher of the Week. He leads the Big Green with 23 strikeouts in 19 innings having punched out a career-high 12 in seven innings against North Dakota State.
• Columbia is countering with a pair of right-handers like Penn in Tim Giel (1-1, 3.81) and Adam Cline (1-2, 1.99). Giel has 20 strikeouts and just four walks in 26 innings, but also sports a career ERA of 15.63 against the Big Green in three appearances. The freshman Cline is coming off the best outing of his brief career having hurled eight innings of scoreless baseball with 14 strikeouts in a 2-0 victory over New York Tech.
What’s Up Next
Dartmouth has another game on the road — its 17th of the first 18 played — when it travels to Quinnipiac on Wednesday with first pitch at 3 p.m. Next weekend, the Big Green host Princeton and Cornell in rematches of the last two Ivy Championship Series with noon doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
First Dartmouth won its first three games to win the Dairy Queen Classic hosted by the University of Minnesota at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and match its best start in the 24 years that head coach has directed the program. Then the Big Green extended their win streak to eight, equaling the most victories to start a season that was set by the 1903 squad. Currently, the 12-1 record marks the best 13-game start for any Dartmouth baseball team in this the 141st varsity season. Both the 1958 and 1998 clubs started 10-1 but fell in the 12th game.
Batting Barrage in Home Opener
Dartmouth scored a season-high 15 runs against Siena in a 15-7 win on March 27, the earliest home opener in the program’s history. The Big Green have won six straight home openers and 11 of their last 12, and the 15 runs were their most since a 15-10 triumph over Boston College on April 12, 2011.
The Hits Keep Coming for Lombardi
Sophomore third baseman went into his final at-bat against Siena as the only starter without a hit, but ended it with a three-run homer to extend his hitting streak to 13 games dating back to last year. He has at least one hit in 19 of the last 20 games while posting a .385 average (30-for-78) and .667 slugging percentage with 28 RBIs.
Keller Killing the Ball
Since starting the season 1-for-13, junior has hit safely in eight of his last nine games at a .406 clip with seven doubles, a triple and a home run — for a slugging percentage of .781 — while driving in 13 runs. His four-bagger came against Siena on March 27, giving him eight in his career to lead the team.
Coble Keeps Making Contact
In each of his first three seasons at Dartmouth, senior Ennis Coble had struck out exactly 17 times, no more, no less. This year he is apparently determined to come nowhere near that total as the lefty has fanned just once in 46 official at-bats, the best ratio in all of Division I.
Danielak Difficult to Hit
Freshman Michael Danielak has pitched eight innings this year and has not allowed a hit in seven of them, including his last six stanzas. Opponents are hitting just .115 against the right-hander with one walk and 10 strikeouts.
Johnson Ivy Pitcher of the Week
For the third time already, a Big Green pitcher was selected as the Ivy League Pitcher of the Week when senior southpaw earned the honor on March 26. He won both of his starts in the previous week, first striking out a career-high 12 batters — the most by a Dartmouth hurler since fanned 13 Cornell batters on April 9, 2011 — in seven shutout innings in a 6-0 win over North Dakota State. Five days later, he held Bradley in check for six innings, surrendering just two runs in his final frame while punching out six.
Televised Game on April 7
Fox College Sports will broadcast the first televised baseball game at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park on April 7 when it airs the first game of the twinbill between Dartmouth and Cornell. The game will be a rematch of last year’s Ivy Championship Series which the Big Red won, two games to one, on a walk-off homer in the 11th inning of game three. This will be the first appearance on TV for the Big Green since playing in the 2010 NCAA Regional at Miami that was aired by ESPNU.
Ivy Statistical Leaders
It’s no surprise that Dartmouth boasts numerous statistical leaders in the Ivy League with its 12-1 start to the season. As a team, the Big Green lead the Ancient Eight in 11 categories, including batting average (.321), scoring (7.5 runs per game), ERA (2.87) and fielding percentage (.978), plus top the nation in doubles per game (2.85). Among individuals, leads the loop in homers per game (0.27) and RBIs per game (1.64) as well as slugging (.773). Senior and his 1.00 ERA are atop the league leaders, as is senior with his 11.25 strikeouts per nine innings.