Walk-Off Win in 12th Lifts Dartmouth to Twinbill Sweep Over Yale
HANOVER, N.H. — Sophomore Dustin Selzer singled in the bottom of the 12th for a walk-off single and give Dartmouth a doubleheader sweep of visiting Yale on Friday afternoon at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park. Freshman Thomas Olson saved the first win, 4-3, then tossed 3.2 innings of scoreless relief in the nightcap to earn the first victory of his career as the Big Green evened their record for the first time all year at 15-15 while maintaining their three-game lead in the Ivy League’s Rolfe Division with a 9-5 mark. The two losses eliminated the Bulldogs from the divisional race as they dropped to 9-28-1 overall and 2-12 in conference play with six games left in the regular season.
After scoring four runs in the first two frames of the second game, Dartmouth was held in check by the Yale pitchers as they limited the Green to just two hits over the next nine innings. But in the 12th, senior Jake Carlson hit a high chopper to short which he beat out for a leadoff single, then senior Joe Sclafani beat out his sacrifice bunt for another single to put runners on first and second. A double play nearly snuffed out the rally, however, advancing Carlson to third with two gone.
With side-winding right-hander Eric Shultz (4-2) on the mound, the Bulldogs elected to intentionally walk switch-hitting junior Chris O’Dowd to face a right-handed hitter in Selzer. The first baseman entered the game wih an 11-game hitting streak, but had been held hitless in five trips to the plate with a walk and a hit by pitch. The first pitch from Shultz rode in on Selzer’s hands, but he pulled them in to get enough of the barrel on the bat to poke the game-winning single up the middle, just past the pitcher and the diving shortstop, to extend his streak and win the game.
Yale began the game by taking a 2-0 lead on Kevin Fortunato’s two-run double that sailed over the left fielder’s head with runners on second and third. In the bottom half, the Big Green got one back when Sclafani and freshman Thomas Roulis singled to put men on the corners and O’Dowd hit into a double play, allowing Sclafani to cross the plate.
The Dartmouth offense got right back to work in the second, beginning with a leadoff single by sophomore Jeff Keller. Junior Ennis Coble stroked a double to left, and after a liner to short, senior David Turnbull laced a triple into the right-field corner for a 3-2 lead. Carlson followed by lofting a sacrifice fly to center to extend the lead to two runs.
Bulldog hurler Rob Cerfolio settled down after that, holding the Big Green hitless for the next four frames, although he did hit three batters. The Yale bats, meanwhile, kept chipping away at Dartmouth rookie left-hander Adam Frank. In the third, Fortunato pulled a two-out single through the left side, only to have Keller gun down Jacob Hunter at the plate trying to score from second. The Bulldogs took advantage of an error in the fourth to tally an unearned run. Charlie Neil doubled David Toups to third after the latter reached on that miscue, and Josh Scharff got the run home with a grounder to first. Cam Squires was hit by a pitch, but Frank stranded Neal at third when O’Dowd gunned down Squires trying to steal and Chris Piwinski hit a routine fly to left.
In the sixth, Toups got another rally started by bunting for a hit and taking second on a wild throw. Neil then hit a gapper to left-center for an RBI double. A two-out infield hit for Piwinski led to Dartmouth Head Coach Bob Whalen lifting Frank for right-handed senior Max Langford, who got a right-handed hitter out on a grounder to third to keep the score tied at four.
Langford provided 2.2 shutout innings before yielding to Olson (1-3) in the ninth with a man on second and one out. The rookie right-hander induced a pair of fly balls to preserve the tie, and went on to allow just two hits in his 3.2 scoreless stanzas with one strikeout to earn the win.
In the opener, Yale jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second on a solo homer off the bat of Fortunato, his third of the year. Bulldog starter Christopher O’Hare, who shut out the Big Green last year in New Haven, continued his mastery over the lineup for the first four innings. Dartmouth finally got to him in the fifth, loading the bases with one out on walk to Sclafani sandwiched between singles by Carlson and Roulis. O’Dowd came through with a line single to left-center to score two runs, and Selzer followed with sharp single to left for a 3-1 lead.
The Bulldogs battled back in the sixth against sophomore southpaw Mitch Horacek. Ryan Brenner found a hole in the left side for a leadoff single, Hunter doubled him to third one out later and Fortunato jumped on a full-count fastball for a two-run single, tying the game at three.
Coble immediately got things started in the bottom half, drilling a single to center, then took second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Nick Lombardi, and third on a grounder to short. Carlson took two pitches out of the zone from O’Hare, then hammered the next offering back through the box for a 4-3 lead.
Horacek, who had struck out three consecutive batters, surrendered a one-out single, then gave way to Olson, who needed just six pitches to get the final two outs for his fourth save of the year, with a little help from Keller in left who made a terrific diving catch to record the second out.
Horacek (3-2) earned the victory, giving up three runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings, punching out six without a walk. O’Hare (1-5) took the loss, allowing the four runs on 10 hits and a pair of walks while striking out six.
Sclafani had five hits on the afternoon, going 2-for-3 in the opener and 3-for-6 in the nightcap, raising his batting average in Ivy play to a robust, .451, tops in the league. Selzer went 3-for-7 on the day with two RBIs, and during his 12-game hitting streak is hitting .465 with 22 RBIs.
Fortunato led the Bulldog offense, driving in all three runs in the first game while going 2-for-3, then going 3-for-6 in the second contest with two more RBIs.
Dartmouth and Yale will conclude their four-game series with another doubleheader tomorrow at noon.
Notes: The three-game lead did not grow due to Harvard's two victories over Brown today as the Crimson improved to 6-8 in league play … the two one-run victories were the first for the Big Green this season; they had been 0-7 in one-run contests … Dartmouth improved to 50-6 at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park since the renovation before the 2009 season, and is 6-0 against Yale there … the Big Green pitching staff has not allowed more than five runs in any of the last 16 games, going 12-4 in that span … Dartmouth did not walk a batter in either game and entered the week among the top 15 nationally in fewest walks per nine innings.