The Games: Dartmouth (27-7, 11-5) vs. Harvard (10-26, 7-9)
Locations: Saturday — Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park (2,000), Hanover, N.H.
Sunday — O'Donnell Field (1,600), Cambridge, Mass.
First pitches: Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m. (DH); Sunday, April 28 at 1 p.m. (DH)
Series Record vs. Harvard: Crimson lead 129-109
Video ($), Audio (Saturday only) - Big Green Insider (Wayne Young play-by-play)
Complete Game Notes
Rolfe Division Title Within Grasp
With a four-game lead over Harvard and four games to play, Dartmouth needs just one victory in this series to clinch its sixth consecutive Rolfe Division crown. Only Princeton has won more division titles in a row since the league went to the format in 1993, winning nine straight from 1996-2004.
That isn’t the only thing on the line as the Big Green are vying to host the Ivy Championship Series. But they need a little help as Columbia has a one-game lead in the loss column for hosting rights. The Lions would need to lose at least once on Saturday for Dartmouth to have a chance, and the Big Green have the tiebreaker having beaten Columbia in both games in New York last month.
Last Week in Review
• Dartmouth won the four-game series at Yale last weekend, sweeping the doubleheader by 9-1 and 7-3 scores on Saturday, and taking the series finale on Sunday with its seventh shutout of the year, 5-0.
• Junior Jeff Keller was named the Ivy League Co-Player of the Week after hitting .471 (8-for-17) with two doubles (tying the Big Green single-season record of 20), a triple, four runs, four RBIs and four intentional walks.
• Sophomore Matt MacDowell hit .438 (7-for-16) against the Bulldogs, collecting a double, homer and six RBIs in the process.
• The 7-3 victory came in 10 innings with both teams scoring a run in the ninth before the Green piled on four in the 10th. It was their first extra-inning game since the final game of last year’s ICS, and their first win in extras since a 5-4, 12-inning triumph against Yale last year.
• On Wednesday, Dartmouth blanked Quinnipiac by a 12-0 score, the largest margin of victory in a shutout for the Big Green in eight years.
Last Time Against the Crimson
The Big Green took three of four from Harvard, sweeping the doubleheader in Cambridge before splitting the two games in Hanover. Dartmouth took a double-digit lead in each of the first two games, winning 11-3 and 12-3. Mitch Horacek and Adam Frank both had quality starts while Nick Lombardi drove in seven runs in the two games.
The Crimson turned the tables in the first game the next day, opening up a 7-0 lead in the third. Dartmouth battled back with five runs in the bottom half thanks in large part to a Michael Johnson went seven innings and allowed just two runs and Lombardi had three of the team’s 10 hits.
The Overall Record vs. Harvard
• By the end of this series, Dartmouth will have played the Crimson more than any other opponent. But Harvard holds a 129-109 lead against the Green.
• Dartmouth twice has swept Harvard in a four-game series since the format changed in 1993 (1995 and 2011). Since 2000, only once have the Big Green not at least split with the Crimson, that coming in 2005.
• Since 1923, Dartmouth is 48-36 (.571) when hosting Harvard, including a 6-2 mark at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park.
• Harvard has been playing at the site of O’Donnell Field since 1898, beating Dartmouth in the inaugural game, 13-7. Since 1923, the Big Green are 38-53 (.418) at the site.
Scouting the Crimson
• Harvard won its season opener in its first game under head coach Bill Decker, but then lost 14 straight games. Only once have the Crimson won back-to-back games, but over the last 12 games, they have alternated wins and losses.
• The bats have produced 3.5 runs a game while hitting .249 with just six homers. Brandon Kregel leads the team with a .305 average, 11 doubles, two homers, 23 runs scored and 18 RBIs.
• Crimson pitchers have the highest ERA in the league at 6.38, but that figure is slightly better in conference play at 5.76. Tanner Anderson was the Ivy League Pitcher of the Week last week after hurling 10 innings and allowing just two unearned runs in a victory over Brown.
• In the field, Harvard has a .955 fielding percentage with 58 errors in the 36 games. The opposition has stolen a league-high 81 bases against the Crimson defense at an 83 percent success rate.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• First up for Dartmouth will be senior RHP Cole Sulser (4-2, 2.51). He is the second winningest pitcher in Dartmouth history with 19 victories and last week went the distance in the 9-1, seven-inning victory over Yale. Another senior will climb the hill for game two in LHP Kyle Hunter (3-1, 1.94), who is fourth in the league in ERA and has provided a quality start in each of his last five starts. At Harvard, junior LHP (5-2, 2.37) will try to bounce back from a tough 2-0 loss to the Bulldogs despite pitching well. He has a career 2.08 ERA against the Crimson in his two starts. Wrapping up the series will be the Ivy League leader in wins in senior LHP (6-0, 1.30), who also ranks 19th nationally with that diminutive ERA. He is 6-0 in his career against Ivy teams as well.
• The Crimson will counter with RHP Sam Dodge (2-6, 5.15) in the opener. He leads the team in most of the pitching categories, including innings and strikeouts. Rookie RHP Sean Poppen (1-3, 6.10) will likely take the ball for game two, although he allowed 10 runs in just two innings against the Bears last week. Back on its home field, Harvard will send the most recent Ivy Pitcher of the Week, RHP Tanner Anderson (2-4, 5.84), to the mound. He went all 10 innings and threw 138 pitches in a 4-2 win at Brown. One more right-hander will go against the Big Green in RHP Baron Davis (2-3, 7.00). Harvard has lost his last two outings despite a 3.55 ERA in 12.2 innings of work.
What’s Up Next
Dartmouth has one final game scheduled for the regular season, hosting Amherst on Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. Should the Big Green win at least one game this weekend, they will advance to the Ivy League Championship Series that will be played either at Columbia or here depending on the outcomes of the two series.
Class of 2013
The members of the Class of 2013 have the opportunity to accumulate more victories than any other class before it. Entering the weekend, Dartmouth has won 108 games over the past four seasons, one less than the Class of 2011 that set the record at 109. Granted, missed last season, so technically he has been on the active roster for 111 wins, which would make him the winningest ball player in Big Green history.
Over the last 10 games, Dartmouth pitchers have not allowed more than three runs per contest and lowered the staff ERA by more than half a run from 3.15 to 2.60. That figure currently has the Big Green sitting 11th in the nation. Should the staff keep that ERA below three through the end of the season, it would be the first time under that threshhold since the 1971 team posted a 2.01 ERA.
Dartmouth handed Quinnipiac a 12-0 defeat on April 24, the largest margin of victory for the Big Green in a shutout since an 18-0 drubbing of Plymouth State in 2005. The last Division I team to suffer that lopsided a score against Dartmouth when Brown lost, 14-0, 13 years ago. This was the eighth shutout of the season for the staff, the second most in school history. Only the 1975 squad had more, shutting out its opponents 10 times in 20 wins.
Keller Smacks 21st Double
The only two-time Ivy League Player of the Week this year, junior has been among the nation’s best hitters this season. He is one of 26 players that boast a .400 average or better, leads the country in doubles per game and ranks fifth with a .778 slugging percentage. On Wednesday against Quinnipiac, he went 3-for-5 with a homer while driving in four runs to take over the league lead with 38 RBIs, plus hit his 21st double to break a 25-year-old school record. Two more doubles would break the Ivy League record as well.
Johnson Continues Mastery on Mound
Senior has been the Big Green’s most consistent and successful pitcher this year, providing a quality start in each of his seven appearances. Against Yale, he tossed seven shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.30 (2nd in Ivy League, 19th in the nation) and win his league-leading sixth game without a defeat. Only teammate has won more games in a season at Dartmouth without a loss, going 8-0 in 2010.
Senior Chad Piersma has four starts this year, and in each one has had a double. In just 20 at-bats this year, Piersma has four doubles and driven in eight runs thanks to going 6-for-9 (.667) with runners in scoring position. No player on the roster has a higher ratio of RBIs per at-bat.
• As a team, Dartmouth is among the top 10 in six statistical categories — strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.19, 6th), doubles per game (2.35, 7th), walks issued per nine innings (2.41, 7th), fielding percentage (.980, 8th), winning percentage (.794, 9th) and slugging percentage (.463, 10th).
• The Big Green are also 11th in ERA (2.60) and 15th in batting average (.310).
• Junior ’s name is littered throughout the national rankings, beginning with leading the country in doubles per game (0.64). He is also second in total doubles (21), fifth in slugging (.778), 18th in RBIs per game (1.16) and one of 26 players nationally above .400 (.402, 22nd).
• Sophomore is even better in RBIs per game with 1.18, good for 16th nationally.
• Senior Ennis Coble is the 18th toughest to strike out in Division I, fanning once every 17.9 at-bats.
• On the mound, only senior is among the top 25 in any statistical category, ranking 19th with a 1.30 ERA and a WHIP (walks and hits per inning) of 0.87.
• Junior reached 100 career hits versus Boston College with his fourth-inning double and has 30 extra-base hits this year, the most ever by a Dartmouth hitter.
• Senior scored his 100th career run when he drove himself in with a home run in the final game against Brown. And with one more RBI, he will have 100 for his career.
• Senior recorded his 150th career strikeout when he whiffed the Bears’ Nick Fornaca in the second inning on April 13. He needs 16 more to break into Dartmouth’s top 10.
• Senior picked up his 100th career strikeout versus Brown by punching out Daniel Massey in the second inning on April 14.
• Junior also made it to 100 career strikeouts his second-inning whiff of Yale’s Josh Scharff in the second inning on April 21.
• With 11 more strikeouts, senior would become the fifth Dartmouth pitcher ever to register 200 in a career.
• Junior Dustin Selzer needs four more hits to hit the century mark for his career.
Lombardi Error-Free No More
Sophomore third baseman did not commit an error at the hot corner this season until the 31st game when he mishandled a tough grounder at Yale. He had not committed an error since the team was on its spring break trip — last year — in California, ending his errorless streak at 56 games and 103 chances.