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Four-Run Ninth Sends Baseball to 5-2 Win Over Army

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Matt MacDowell hit the game-winning triple in the ninth.     By Eric Miller
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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Sophomore Matt MacDowell went 3-for-4 with a two-run triple in the ninth to highlight Dartmouth’s four-run rally as the Big Green battled back to defeat Army, 5-2, in the first game of their 10-game trip to Florida. The victory allowed Dartmouth (4-0) to remain as the only Division I team in the nation with a perfect record and post its best start to a season since 1986.

The Black Knights (4-10) were held scoreless for the first seven stanzas before breaking through for two in the eighth to take a 2-1 lead against freshman reliever Michael Danielak. Justin Reece opened the inning with a single from his ninth spot in the order, and after leadoff hitter Jon Crucitti reached on a bunt single, Daniel Cortes sacrificed the runners to second and third.

Alex Jensen then chopped a ball over the first baseman’s head for a two-run single, taking second on the throw to the plate and giving Army that 2-1 advantage. The Black Knights proceeded to load the bases with one out, but Danielak got a pop to second and a punchout to limit the damage to two runs.

In the ninth, Army summoned Gunnar Carroll to the mound to try and seal the deal. But after getting the first out on a comebacker, he failed to get another out. Junior Jeff Keller laced a double to left-center, then scored the tying run on a single back through the box by sophomore Nick Lombardi. Freshman Nick Ruppert then pulled a ball through the left side for a single, and MacDowell crushed a ball to right-center for a go-ahead two-run triple.

Carroll (0-3) was lifted in favor of Justin French, who left a ball up in the zone to sophomore Bo Patterson who lofted a sacrifice fly to right for the final Big Green run.

Sophomore Thomas Olson came in to preserve the three-run lead in the bottom half. After getting the first out on a foul fly to right and the second out on strikes, he issued a walk to Crucitti. Olson did not have to retire another batter, however, as Crucitti was gunned down trying to steal second, ending the game.

The comeback made a winner out of Danielak (1-0) in his first collegiate appearance. The rookie pitched a perfect seventh before surrendering the two runs in the eighth, striking out two in his two innings of work.

The starters for both teams pitched well enough to win, yet neither figured in the decision. Senior Cole Sulser started on the mound for the Big Green but did not figure into the decision, despite tossing six scoreless inning while yielding just three hits and a walk. The right-hander struck out seven and has not allowed a run in 12 innings this year, improving the Dartmouth starters’ ERA to 0.78 on the young season.

For Army, Chris Rowley worked eight full innings, allowing just one run on six hits and one walk while fanning five.

Dartmouth banged out 12 hits in the contest — half of which came in the ninth — led by MacDowell’s three safeties. Sophomore Matt Parisi and freshman Trent Goodrich each had two hits as well.

Crucitti had half of the Black Knights’ six hits on the night, with Jensen providing two more while driving in both Army runs.

Dartmouth will play twice on Sunday. First up at 11:30 a.m. will be LIU Brooklyn (1-11), which just ended an 11-game losing skid to start the season. On tap at 3:30 p.m. will be UAB (9-10), which had a three-game winning streak snapped today by Indiana in a 12-3 final.