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Doubleheader Split Sends Big Green to Ithaca Next Weekend for ICS

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Jeff Keller watched his grand slam leave the park in the first game of the doubleheader...     By Gil Talbot

HANOVER, N.H. — Needing to win both ends of the doubleheader with visiting Harvard on Sunday afternoon to have a chance to host the Ivy Championship Series (ICS) next weekend, the Dartmouth baseball team fell a run short of its quest, falling by a run in the first game, 8-7, before rebounding to win game two, 8-3. The loss ended the Big Green’s 12-game winning streak as they moved to 22-16 overall on the season and 14-6 in the Ivy League, winning the Rolfe Division by six games over Harvard (12-30, 8-12 Ivy).

The Big Green will travel to Ithaca, N.Y., next weekend to play Cornell (29-14-1, 14-6 Ivy), which needed 12 innings in its final game with Princeton to clinch the title, for the best-of-three ICS beginning on Saturday, May 5. The Big Red own the tiebreaker with Dartmouth for the right to host the championship series having won both games between the two teams at Cornell four weeks ago.

The Crimson jumped on Dartmouth junior Kyle Hunter in the opener, scoring three times in the second inning and four more in the third for a 7-0 lead. Ethan Ferreira led off the second with a single, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a Kyle Larrow single. Nick Saathoff then worked the count full before pulling a 3-2 pitch over the fence in right for his first collegiate homer, a two-run job.

In the third, Jeff Reynolds and Jake McGuiggan began things with singles, and an error on a double-play ball loaded the bases with nobody out. Larrow dumped a two-run single into center, and Saathoff followed with a two-run double. Harvard loaded the bases again with two out, but Hunter was able to quell the uprising on a routine fly to right.

Dartmouth got on the comeback trail immediately as senior Jake Carlson walked, classmate Joe Sclafani singled back through the box and, after a foul pop, junior Chris O’Dowd walked to load the bases. Sophomore Dustin Selzer lined a single between third and short for a run-scoring single before sophomore Jeff Keller launched a 2-2 pitch over everything in left for his fifth four-bagger of the year and first career grand slam, cutting the deficit to two runs at 7-5.

Selzer made it a one-run game with a two-out RBI single up the middle, scoring Carlson who had led off with a bunt single and advanced to third on a groundout and an O’Dowd infield hit. But the Big Green left the bases loaded when junior Ennis Coble grounded to first, though he nearly beat the throw to the pitcher covering the bag.

In the sixth, Harvard got a crucial insurance run when McGuiggan lined a sacrifice fly to center to plate Mike Martin.

It appeared Dartmouth would rally for at least a tie in the bottom half when freshman Thomas Roulis led off with a triple into the gap in right-center and O’Dowd followed with a double to left-center. After Selzer drew a four-pitch walk, relievers Zack Olson and Will Keuper — the latter making his first appearance of the year — managed to strike out the side to preserve the 8-7 lead.

In the seventh and final frame, the Big Green was able to get the tying run into scoring position when Carlson collected his third hit of the game with one out and Roulis was drilled by a pitch with two gone. But Keuper pulled the string on his first pitch to induce a routine pop to short to earn the save.

Joey Novak (1-3) picked up the win in relief of Andrew Ferreira, who lasted just 2.1 innings and surrendered five runs on four hits while walking four and striking out two. Novak did surrender two runs over 2.2 innings, but did just enough to help hold off the Big Green.

Hunter (2-4) suffered through the shortest start of his career, allowing seven runs, five earned, over three innings on nine hits and a pair of walks with two strikeouts. Sophomore Mike Dodakian and freshman Thomas Olson tossed the final four frames, yielding just one run.

Jack Colton had three of Harvard’s 10 hits, but it was Saathoff’s four RBIs that led the Crimson at the plate. Dartmouth collected 11 knocks, with Carlson going 3-for-3, while Keller drove in four with his slam and Selzer contributed two hits and two RBIs.

In the nightcap, junior left-hander Michael Johnson kept the Crimson in check for seven innings, giving up just two runs on eight hits and a couple of walks over seven innings while striking out six to improve to 4-1 on the season. He did, however, surrender a first-inning run to Harvard as Martin singled, stole second and third, then trotted home on McGuiggan’s bloop double to right.

The Big Green pounced in the second, scoring six times with a little help from the Harvard defense which committed three errors. Selzer scored the first run when he took third on a wild pitch and scored when the throw from the catcher went down the left-field line. Freshman Matt Robinson then singled home Keller, and fellow rookies Nick Lombardi and Matt MacDowell singled as well to load the bases. Carlson reached on an infield hit which scored two runs as the shortstop attempted to get a force at second after making a diving stop in the hole, but merely threw the ball wildly into right field. Both Sclafani and Roulis drove in runs with infield outs to give Dartmouth a 6-1 lead.

Martin doubled and scored on a McGuiggan single in the third, and the score remained at 6-2 into the eighth. The Crimson put runners on the corners with one out against senior reliever Max Langford before Dartmouth Head Coach Bob Whalen summoned Olson in from the bullpen. Although a run came home on a force play at second, Olson subdued any semblance of a rally and finished up for his sixth save.

Dartmouth did tack on two in the bottom of the eighth on a booming RBI double to dead center off the bat of Lombardi and the fourth Crimson error of the game. Lombardi finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI to lead the 10-hit Big Green attack.

Prior to the ICS next weekend, Dartmouth has one final non-conference game against Hartford on Tuesday, May 1 at 3 p.m.

The Dartmouth Baseball Class of 2012 poses before the Senior Day doubleheader.