All of the scoring in the first game of the day came via the long ball, beginning with a solo blast by junior Dustin Selzer in the fifth to break up the scoreless duel between Big Green junior left-hander Mitch Horacek and Columbia senior right-hander Tim Giel. Keller provided a two-run shot to left, his second of the year, in the sixth to give Dartmouth a 3-0 lead with just six outs to go.
Horacek, meanwhile had surrendered just two hits to the Lion lineup through the first five frames, only once facing a serious scoring threat in the second when Aaron Silbar hit a one-out double and took third with two down on a passed ball. A walk and a stolen base put runners at second and third, but Horacek got a called third strike to end the threat.
But in the bottom of the sixth, Eric Williams pulled a double down the right-field line, and after a wild pitch Alex Black launched his fourth four-bagger of the season to make it a one-run game again at 3-2. When Nick Ferraresi struck out, only to reach first on another wild pitch, it seemed that momentum was shifting in Columbia’s favor with Silbar, who had doubled earlier, coming to the plate. Horacek got him to hit a comebacker, however, and turned it into an inning-ending double play.
Sophomore Thomas Olson took the mound to get the final three outs. Although he surrendered a two-out double to David Vandercook, he left the tying run stranded by getting pinch hitter Gus Craig to hit a fly to right-center that freshman Nick Ruppert tracked down to give Olson his sixth save of the year.
Horacek (4-0) maintained his perfect record with his six innings of two-run ball, yielding four hits and a walk while fanning five Lions. All five of the Columbia hits in the contest went for extra bases with four doubles and Black’s home run.
Giel (1-2) was the tough-luck loser, allowing all three runs in his seven stanzas on seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
Keller and Selzer each had two hits with a home run, while the former also hit a triple.
Dartmouth wasted no time in the nightcap, scoring twice in the first off of Adam Cline. Sophomore Matt Parisi was hit by a pitch leading off the game, and Ruppert and senior Ennis Coble both singled to load the bases with nobody out. A fly to center off the bat of sophomore Nick Lombardi sent Ruppert to third and Parisi across the plate, then Keller hit a grounder to short to bring home Ruppert.
In the second, the Lions lopped the lead in half with a run off senior southpaw Michael Johnson. Joey Falcone trotted to first after watching four wide ones to start the inning, took second on a passed ball and scored on a single off the bat of Silbar that just got past a diving Parisi at second.
The third inning proved to be the difference in the game as the Big Green scored five more runs. The top of the order loaded the bases again before Cline got the first out on strikes. Keller got the parade started across the plate by lashing a double into the right-center gap to score two, and sophomore Matt MacDowell brought home another run by yanking a single through the hole between first and second. Selzer followed with another RBI single, and freshman Trent Goodrich also singled to load the bases once again. Cline nearly wriggled out of the jam without another run scoring, but after a strikeout, he uncorked a wild pitch allowing MacDowell to score from third for a 7-1 Dartmouth lead.
Johnson gave up a two-out single in the third, then retired 13 of the next 14 hitters. With the score still 7-1 in the eighth, Lion shortstop Jordan Serena and Black each hit singles, ending Johnson’s afternoon. Again Olson was summoned from the bullpen, and after whiffing the first batter he faced for the second out, Ferraresi and Silbar each stroked RBI singles to bring Columbia within four at 7-3.
The Lions threatened again in the ninth against freshman right-hander Michael Danielak, who walked the leadoff hitter then gave up two consecutive singles to bring the tying run to the plate with nobody out. The rookie remained calm, though, and got the first out on a routine fly to center, then induced a double play around the horn to end the game.
Johnson (4-0) matched Horacek for the team lead in victories by giving up just three runs on four hits and three walks in 7.1 innings with four strikeouts. Taking the loss was Cline (1-3) who gave up seven earned runs in three innings on seven hits and a free pass while striking out three.
The Big Green lineup produced 12 hits with four players collecting two apiece, including Parisi who scored twice.
Dartmouth next plays at Quinnipiac (9-10) on Wednesday, April 3 at 3 p.m. Columbia also hits the road for its next game when it plays at Rutgers (11-12) on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.