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Five-Run Frames Carry Dartmouth to Doubleheader Sweep

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Junior Joe Sclafani     By John and Matt Risley
HANOVER, N.H. — Thanks to a five-run fifth in the opening game of a doubleheader and a five-run first in the nightcap, the Dartmouth baseball team was able to sweep visiting Brown on Easter Sunday by 7-3 and 11-3 scores at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park. The victories boosted Dartmouth’s record to 21-10 overall and 8-6 in the Ivy League while extending the Big Green’s home winning streak to 19 games, the longest current streak in all of Division I. The Bears fell to 8-24 on the season and 6-8 in conference play.

Senior Jeff Onstott and junior Joe Sclafani each collected five hits in the two games to lead the Big Green offense, while freshman Jeff Keller contributed four hits and four RBIs, including a solo home run that began the comeback in the first game. All told, Sclafani reached base eight times on the day, going 3-for-4 in the opener and 2-for-3 with two doubles, three walks and two RBIs in the second game. Onstott was a perfect 4-for-4 with a walk in the nightcap.

In the first game, sophomore Kyle Hunter was in command the first time through the lineup, allowing just one hit and erasing a hit batter on a double-play grounder. In the meantime, the Dartmouth offense managed to push a run across in the first frame against Brown hurler Matt Kimball when Sclafani led off with a base hit, took second on a chopper to first then scored on a line single to center off the bat of sophomore Chris O’Dowd. When the ball skipped past the center fielder, O’Dowd scooted around to third, but Kimball fanned the next two hitters to make the error moot.

Trouble found Hunter in the fourth, however, when Matt Colantonio laced a lead-off double into the right-field corner. Hunter retired the next two hitters with Colantonio taking third on a deep fly to center before walking Ryan Zrenda on a full-count pitch. Zrenda swiped second on a delayed steal, but it did not matter as Graham Tyler turned on an inside fastball and deposited it into the net beyond the left-field fence for a three-run homer and a 3-1 Bear lead.

The Big Green halved that two-run deficit in the bottom of the fourth when Keller launched a solo blast to left-center, his second of the year. But the big damage was yet to come in the fifth.

Again it was Sclafani getting things started, this time with a one-out single over the second baseman’s head. Senior Sam Bean tied the score when he ripped an RBI triple to right, barely beating the throw with his slide into third. Kimball elected to intentionally walk O’Dowd, but senior Jason Brooks foiled the strategy by lining a two-run double down the right-field line. After a strikeout, Onstott smoked a single to center to plate Brooks. Keller worked a walk to put runners at first and second, and when junior David Turnbull’s grounder to second was thrown wide to first, Onstott never hesitated coming around third and beat the tag at the plate to score the fifth run of the inning, making it 7-3.

Hunter (4-2) did not allow a hit over the final three innings, working his way around a trio of free passes with a little help from an around-the-horn double play. The southpaw tossed his third complete game in the seven-inning contest, making just the one mistake that led to three runs while yielding four hits and four walks with five strikeouts to his credit as well.

Kimball (2-4) also went the distance, surrendering seven runs, six earned, on eight hits and a pair of walks while fanning 10.

In the final game of the day, Dartmouth jumped all over Brown starter Mark Gormley (0-2), who recorded just one out before being replaced on the mound. Sclafani and Bean began the game with back-to-back doubles for a quick 1-0 lead. A wild pitch, walk to O’Dowd and another wild pitch put men on second and third when sophomore Ennis Coble dropped a one-out double in left field to score Bean. Onstott drew a walk to load the bases, and Keller pulled a single to left for another run, ending Gormley’s day. Turnbull hit a slow bouncer to the first baseman, who bobbled the ball with thoughts of getting the force at home, allowing Turnbull to reach safely. The final run trotted home when Sclafani watch four wide ones go by for an RBI walk.

Dartmouth’s game two starter, junior Cole Sulser, cruised through the lineup the first time around, much like Hunter, with the only mark on Sulser’s record being a hit batter. He quickly retired the first two batters in the fourth before Mike DiBiase tripled and scored on a Zrenda single the other way. It turned out to be the only run Brown could muster off Sulser (4-1) in his seven innings of work as he gave up just four hits and did not walk a single hitter while striking out three.

In the fifth, Keller ripped an RBI double off the fence in left, and Turnbull lofted a sacrifice fly for two more runs. The Big Green hit double digits in the sixth as three runners crossed the plate on RBI singles by Keller and Turnbull, plus another bases-loaded walk to Sclafani. The final Dartmouth tally came in the seventh when Coble doubled home O’Dowd, who had led off the inning by beating out an infield hit.

Brown’s Cody Slaughter hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth, his first of the year, to complete the scoring.

Both Keller and Turnbull drove in three runs in the contest, while Coble and Onstott each scored three times.

The two teams will conclude their four-game series with another doubleheader tomorrow at noon.