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Holy Cross Comes to Biondi Park Wednesday

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By Mark Washburn
The Game: Dartmouth (8-14) vs. Holy Cross (18-14)
Locations: Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park (2,000), Hanover, N.H.
First pitch: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 11
Series Record vs. Holy Cross: Crusaders lead, 91-51-1
Live Video via Big Green Insider ($)
Live Audio — (Wayne Young ’72 play-by-play)
Live Stats
Complete Game Notes
Keeping Tabs On Another Streak
No longer owners of the nation’s longest home winning streak, Dartmouth finishes up its six-game homestand with a non-conference game against Holy Cross. Since Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park opened in 2009, the Big Green have never lost to a team outside the Ivy League on the field, winning each of the 16 games.

Last Week in Review
•    Senior Jake Carlson got the week started in historic fashion, becoming the first known Big Green player to hit for the cycle when Dartmouth trounced St. Anselm, 12-4. His four hits, three runs and four RBIs all equaled his career highs.
•    The first Ivy home weekend was a success with the Big Green sweeping a twinbill from Penn, 6-3 and 11-2, before splitting the doubleheader with the Lions of Columbia, falling 4-3 in the opener before rebounding to win in the nightcap, 11-3.
•    The loss to the Lions ended Dartmouth’s 28-game home winning streak, but the Green didn’t go down without a fight. Despite being held hitless for the first six innings of the seven-inning contest, Dartmouth rallied for three runs and had the tying run on third before fizzling out.
•    Senior Joe Sclafani was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for the third time in his career, hitting .476 (10-for-21) with three doubles, two triples, a home run, seven runs and six RBIs. His first triple broke the Dartmouth career record, and his second not only tied the Ivy career record, but also made him the fifth player in Big Green history to register 200 hits.

Last Time Against the Crusaders
The game scheduled between the two teams last year was rained out in Worcester, so it has been two years since the Big Green played Holy Cross, a 4-2 Dartmouth victory here in Hanover. The Crusaders took a 2-0 lead in the fourth, but the Green rallied for three in the bottom half, the first two coming on a single off the bat of Brandon Parks and the go-ahead run scoring when Jake Carlson beat out an infield hit. Cole Sulser came on in relief with two outs in the fifth and ended up tossing 3.1 no-hit innings to earn the win before Ryan Smith finished up for the save. Carlson, Joe Sclafani and Jeff Onstott each had two of the 10 Big Green hits, and Onstott scored twice.

Overall Record vs. Holy Cross
•    After this game, Dartmouth will have played more games against the Crusaders than any other non-Ivy opponent. Holy Cross has a decisive advantage in the all-times series at 91-51-1.
•    Over the last 30 years, however, the Big Green have dominated the Crusaders, winning 18 of the 25 meetings.
•    Coach Whalen is 11-6 against Holy Cross during his tenure.
•    From the first game in the series, a 9-8 Crusader victory in 1894, through the 1957 season, Holy Cross beat Dartmouth 65 times and lost just 14.

Scouting the Crusaders
•    Holy Cross has had a solid season thus far, including a victory over Texas A&M — then ranked fourth in the country — during the first weekend.
•    After two weekends of play in the Patriot League, the Crusaders are 5-3 and in second place behind Army, which is 8-0 and 23-8 overall.
•    Holy Cross is not an offensive juggernaut, scoring less than five runs per game with a .261 average and just a .341 slugging percentage as a team.
•    Alex Maldonado is the catalyst out of the two-hole in the lineup, hitting .309 with nine stolen bases and 27 runs in 32 games.
•    The power is supplied mostly by lead-off hitter Mike Ahmed with four of the Crusaders’ eight long balls, while Chris Sintetos has a pair of jacks and 20 RBIs to lead the squad.
•    Even after yielding 13 runs to Central Connecticut State on Tuesday, the pitchers have a solid 4.40 ERA with opponents batting .259 against them.
•    In the bullpen, Holy Cross will rely on John Colella to close out games. The right-hander has a 3-1 record and seven saves in 36.0 innings with 38 strikeouts while holding the opposition to a .179 average.
•    This is a good fielding team with a .973 fielding percentage, despite four miscues on Tuesday.

Probable Starting Pitchers
•    Dartmouth will likely go with sophomore RHP Louis Concato (1-1, 5.09), who earned the win in a five-inning start last week against Saint Anselm, yielding just one earned run. The Crusaders haven’t announced who will pitch, so I will guess rookie RHP Donny Murray (2-0, 5.30) who has surrendered 33 hits in 18.2 innings this year.

What’s Up Next
Dartmouth begins play within the Rolfe Division of the Ivy League with a four-game series at Brown this weekend. The two will play noon doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, and if the Big Green earn at least a split of the four contests, they will remain in first place.

Ivy Player of the Week
For the third time in his career, shortstop Joe Sclafani was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after hitting .476 (10-for-21) with three doubles, two triples, a home run, seven runs and six RBIs in five games during the week of April 2-8. He nearly became the second Big Green player to hit for the cycle in as many games when he went 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs in a 6-3 win over Penn, coming up a double short of the feat.

End of the Win Streak at Home
Until Columbia beat the Big Green in the first game of the doubleheader on April 8, Dartmouth had not lost at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park in nearly two years, winning 28 straight games at the venue. Yet that is not the longest such streak in the program’s history. From the start of the 1923 season and into the 1926 campaign, the Green won 32 straight contests in Hanover. The streak could be longer than 32, but home/road data is not available for the 1922 season.

Selzer Provides Offensive Relief
Sophomore Dustin “Alka” Selzer gave Dartmouth and its fans a huge sigh of relief in the second game of a doubleheader with Columbia on April 8, bashing his first career grand slam in the fifth inning to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 6-3 lead. Dartmouth would go on to win, 11-3, as Selzer launched a solo shot and a two-run double to finish the game with seven RBIs, the most for a Big Green player since Scott Shirrell ’04 drove in eight against Yale on April 27, 2003. Shirrell also owns the school single-game record of 14 RBIs, set against Harvard on May 4, 2002.

Home Sweet Home
Since Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park was renovated prior to the 2009 season, Dartmouth has enjoyed exceptional success on its home field with a 47-6 record for an .887 winning percentage. In addition, no team outside of the Ivy League has won at the park as the Big Green own a perfect 16-0 mark there against non-conference foes.

Sclafani Scuttlebutt
•    Senior Joe Sclafani set one career triples record and tied another during the home Ivy weekend against Penn and Columbia. In his first at-bat against the Quakers, he ripped the 17th triple of his career to break the Dartmouth all-time record. The next day, he smacked another three-bagger, tying the Ivy League career record.
•    That second triple was also the 200th hit of Sclafani’s career, making him the fifth Big Green player and 17th Ivy League hitter to reach the milestone.
•    Sclafani is also climbing other career lists at Dartmouth, ranking second in runs (147), third in walks (84) and 10th in doubles (37).

Johnson Fans 10 in Win Over Lions
As Selzer was providing the majority of the offense, junior Michael Johnson was carving up the Columbia lineup, doubling his career high with 10 strikeouts. He was the first Big Green pitcher to reach double figures in 365 days when both Kyle Hunter and Cole Sulser each accomplished the feat in both ends of a doubleheader against Cornell.

Lombard-ing Park Street
Freshman Nick Lombardi popped his first career home run in the 11-2 win over Penn, a two-run shot in the fourth to double the Big Green lead. He later added a two-run two-bagger as he recorded a personal-best four RBIs.

Frank-ly Pitching
Freshman Adam Frank continued his impressive pitching this season when he took the mound against Penn on April 7. Over the first seven innings, the Quakers managed just two hits off the rookie before he tired in the eighth with Dartmouth owning an 11-0 lead. Frank finished the game having thrown 7.1 innings — the most by a Big Green pitcher this year — allowing two runs on five hits and three walks with a pair of punchouts.

Carlson Makes History with Cycle
In 140 seasons of varsity baseball, there had been no record of any Big Green player hitting for the cycle. That changed on April 4 when senior Jake Carlson accomplished the feat against Saint Anselm. After striking out his first time up, Carlson heated up with a fourth-inning double. One inning later the nine-hole hitter took the Hawk pitcher deep for his first home run of the season and fourth of his career. In the sixth, he boomed a triple over the his counterpart’s head in center field, leaving him needing just a single in his final at-bat. He didn’t waste any time, hitting a hard groundball up the middle that the second baseman was able to glove but not beat Carlson to first with the throw.