LAWRENCE, Kan. — Dartmouth took a 5-4 lead into the sixth, but the 18th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks scored six runs in the fateful inning and went on to beat the Big Green, 11-7, on Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark. Dakota Smith broke the 5-5 tie with a grand slam and Tucker Tharp followed with another long ball to carry Kansas (16-7) to the victory.
Sophomore Joe Purritano homered and scored twice for Dartmouth (2-9), and the Big Green took advantage of three Jayhawk errors to score four unearned runs. Juniors Thomas Roulis and Matt MacDowell each contributed a pair of hits to the Dartmouth cause as well.
It was the ninth hitter in the Kansas order that began the sixth-inning rally as Aaron Hernandez slapped a single back through the box. After a sacrifice bunt and a Colby Wright single put runners on the corners, Michael Suiter ripped an RBI double to left-center — his third of four hits on the afternoon — to tie the game at five.
Suiter’s two-bagger ended sophomore Beau Sulser’s day on the mound as rookie southpaw Zach Sorenson was summoned from the bullpen. Cleanup hitter Connor McKay fell behind in the count a ball and two strikes before working a walk to load the bases. Two pitches later, Smith belted the ball over the fence in right-center for a grand slam and a 9-5 lead. Tharp then hit his round-tripper out to left to cap the inning.
Dartmouth continued to battle against reliever Drew Morovick, immediately loading the bases in the top half of the seventh on a Roulis single and walks to senior Jeff Keller and Purritano. Morovick managed to induce a double play, however, which allowed one run to score, and senior Ryan Toimil reached on an error, sending Keller across the plate to make it a 10-7 game.
After Kansas tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh on Suiter’s second double of the game, the Big Green went down in order in both the eighth and ninth innings.
The Jayhawks may have scored the first run of the game in the first, but Dartmouth put a four-spot on the board in the second with some help from two errors by starting pitcher Robert Kahana. The Big Green loaded the bases without getting the ball out of the infield on a walk, the first of Kahana’s errors and a bunt single. A sacrifice fly off the bat of senior Dustin Selzer tied the game, and MacDowell walked to fill the bases once again. Another Kahana miscue in the field scored the second Dartmouth run, and junior Matt Parisi provided another sacrifice fly before Roulis ripped a single to right to plate MacDowell for a 4-1 lead.
In the third, Kansas tied the score on a McKay RBI single and a two-out single by Blair Beck to send two more Jayhawks home.
Purritano smacked a solo shot in the fifth with one down, his first of the season, to put the Big Green back on top, 5-4. But the Kansas sixth-inning outburst wiped out the slim advantage.
Morovick (4-1) picked up the victory in relief of Kahana by hurling 2.1 innings and surrendering two runs, one earned, on two hits and a pair of walks. Kahana had yielded five runs, but only two earned, over five frames on five hits and two walks while striking out three.
Sulser (1-2) was stuck with the loss for Dartmouth battling for 5.1 innings. He eventually gave up seven runs on nine hits, two walks and three hit batters and punched out two.
Smith had five RBIs on the day with his grand slam and a sacrifice fly, while Suiter was 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs as the Jayhawks racked up 12 hits against the Big Green pitchers.
Dartmouth will look to salvage the final game of the three-game series tomorrow morning when the teams square off at 11 a.m. (ET). Freshman Mike Concato (0-0, 5.23) is slated to climb the hill for the Big Green against Kansas ace Frank Duncan (2-1, 1.64). The game will be shown live on ESPN3.
Notes: Dartmouth has hit three home runs this season, all solo shots and each one coming in the fifth inning ... eight of the Big Green’s 11 games this year have come against opponents that were ranked in at least one of the four polls (Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, Coaches and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association).