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Courtesy: Richard Lewis
Nick Ruppert homered in boths ends of the doubleheader against Columbia.

Baseball Splits a Pair of One-Run Games with Columbia

Courtesy: Dartmouth
Release: 04/06/2014
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HANOVER, N.H. — Senior Jeff Keller doubled home junior Matt Parisi from first base with two outs in the 10th inning to lift Dartmouth (5-14, 2-4 Ivy) to a 3-2 victory in the first game of an Ivy League doubleheader against visiting Columbia (9-15, 3-3 Ivy) on Saturday afternoon at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park. The Lions rebounded in the nightcap, however, after falling behind by three runs to split the twinbill with a 5-4 triumph.

The two teams were locked in a pitchers’ duel in the opener with the score tied at two in the 10th. Columbia reliever Adam Cline (0-3) was in his fourth inning of work and seemed to be in control as he struck out the first two hitters. But Parisi worked him for a walk on a full-count pitch, and Keller followed by also working the count full. With Parisi running on the pitch, Keller lined Cline’s offering just over the outstretched glove of shortstop Aaron Silbar into the left-center gap. Parisi never hesitated and easily slid across the plate well ahead of the throw to end the Big Green’s three-game skid.

Dartmouth was in position to win the game in the regulation seven innings with sophomore Beau Sulser dominating the Lion lineup. He began the seventh stanza by striking out his 11th batter of the day, nearly tripling his previous career best of four punchouts. Columbia catcher Mike Fischer singled, however, to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of David Vandercook, who sent a pitch high in the air with the wind blowing out toward left field. The ball came down on the warning track, but was dropped for a two-base error, giving the Lions their first base runner to reach third all game.

Will Savage then lined a shot to right field where Keller made a spectacular diving catch, which allowed just one run to score on the sacrifice fly. Big Green head coach Bob Whalen then summoned sophomore right-hander Duncan Robinson from the bullpen to get the final out, but Jordan Serena foiled the move by lining an RBI double to right-center to tie the game at two with both runs being unearned.

The game was scoreless through three innings before Dartmouth broke through in the fourth on three consecutive singles by Parisi, Keller and senior Dustin Selzer. When junior Thomas Roulis reached on an error to load the bases with one out, the Big Green had the makings of a big inning, but Columbia starter David Speer induced an inning-ending double play to keep the score at 1-0.

Sophomore Nick Ruppert doubled the Dartmouth lead in the sixth by leading off the frame with a long home run to left for what turned out to be an important insurance run.

Sulser did not get the decision despite his stellar performance on the mound, surrendering two unearned runs on four hits and a walk to go along with those 11 strikeouts. Three times he struck out the side — in the third, fourth and sixth stanzas. Robinson (4-1) picked up the win in relief with 3.1 shutout innings, allowing three hits while striking out three.

Keller led the Big Green offense by going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI while Parisi scored two of the three runs.

Dartmouth jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning of the second game thanks to the long ball as Ruppert led off with another four-bagger, his third of the year, and Selzer matched him two outs later with his second of the season. After Roulis reached on an infield hit and took second when the throw got away, sophomore Joe Purritano dumped a single into left to allow Roulis to race home with the third run.

Senior right-hander Louis Concato pitched a pair of hitless innings to start the game for the Big Green, only to have Columbia touch him for three runs of its own in the third. Vandercook had the big hit with a two-run double — his first of three two-baggers in the contest — then came home with two down on Joey Falcone’s single to center.

Meanwhile, Columbia starter George Thanopoulos was gradually settling in, although he did find himself in a bases-loaded jam with one out in the fourth. A double-play grounder to short allowed him to escape the jam unscathed, leaving the score knotted at three.

Dartmouth was continually frustrated after the first, leaving seven runners on base in the second through fifth innings. Thanopoulos then retired the last seven batters he faced, exiting the game after seven frames with a 4-3 lead thanks to an RBI double by Vandercook in the top of the seventh. The double scored Savage, who had reached on a squib hit down the third-base line.

In the eighth, Columbia tacked on an insurance run against freshman reliever Chris Burkholder when Fischer hit a soft liner to center with two gone to score Silbar, who had walked to lead off the inning. The damage could have been worse if not for another sensational diving catch for the third out by Keller, who was closer to center field than his position in right when he made the grab, with two runners in scoring position.

Left-hander Thomas Crispi came on to pitch for the Lions in the bottom half, and after walking Purritano, he struck out the side. Parisi touched him for a long ball in the ninth — his second of the year — with one out to bring the Big Green back within a run, and Keller followed with a walk. But following a foul pop for the second out, Fischer gunned down Keller trying to steal his way into scoring position to end the game.

Both Vandercook and Savage had three hits for Columbia with the former driving in three runs and the latter scoring twice. Those two were the key to helping Thanopoulos (3-0) earn the victory with his seven innings of work, surrendering three runs, two earned, on eight hits and two walks while striking out six. Crispi earned his first save by getting the final six outs.

Concato (0-2) was stuck with the loss for yielding four runs in a career-long seven-inning stint. Columbia had six hits and drew threw walks while the right-hander struck out four.

Dartmouth will return to the diamond tomorrow when it hosts the Gehrig Division-leading Penn Quakers (13-10, 6-0 Ivy) — winners of nine straight — for a noon doubleheader. Columbia heads over to Cambridge, Mass., to take on Harvard (5-16, 1-3 Ivy) in a twinbill at noon as well.

Notes: Dartmouth has hit seven home runs this season, all of which have been of the solo variety ... Ruppert has homered in three straight games ... Sulser's 11 strikeouts are five more than any Big Green pitcher has amassed in a game this season ... Keller has 10 doubles in 19 games this year to keep him among the top 10 nationally in doubles per game, a category he led Division I in last year.

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