The Games: Dartmouth (15-3, 2-2) vs. Princeton (5-18, 3-1), Cornell (15-8, 3-1)
Location: Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park (2,000), Hanover, N.H.
First pitches: Saturday, April 6 (DH) at noon; Sunday, April 7 (DH) at noon
Series Record vs. Princeton: Tigers lead 92-83
Series Record vs. Cornell: Big Green lead 90-79-1
Video ($), Audio - Big Green Insider (Wayne Young play-by-play)
Television (First game Sunday only) - Fox College Sports (Eric Frede play-by-play, Wayne Young analyst)
Complete Game Notes
Rematch of Last Two ICS
Having played 17 of its first 18 games outside of Hanover, Dartmouth finally gets to enjoy a weekend at home with Princeton and Cornell coming to town in rematches of the last two Ivy Championship Series. The Tigers squeaked past the Big Green in the best-of-three series in 2011, while the Big Red did as well just last year. But both series were played on the road, not at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park where Dartmouth is 56-7 since the stadium seating and FieldTurf were installed before the 2009 season.
And as an added bonus, the first game of the doubleheader against Cornell on Sunday will be televised by Fox College Sports. That game will be a nine-inning affair to accommodate the first television broadcast at Dartmouth’s home field.
Last Week in Review
• The Big Green came up a run short in each of their first two Ivy League games last weekend, dropping a pair of 3-2 contests at Penn. The next day, they turned the tables on Columbia, beating the Lions in the first game, 3-2, then finishing the twinbill sweep with a 7-4 triumph.
• Junior Jeff Keller was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after hitting .529 with eight extra-base hits and eight RBIs in five games.
• All four Dartmouth starting pitchers last weekend had a quality start (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs allowed).
• In the lone non-conference game on Wednesday, the Big Green pulled away late at Quinnipiac in a 9-4 victory. Keller hit two doubles and senior Ennis Coble hit his first home run in 210 at-bats, dating back to a four-bagger at Hartford on May 3, 2011.
Last Time Against the Tigers
Last year, Dartmouth split a doubleheader at Princeton as the Tigers won the opener, 8-0, before the Big Green rebounded for an 8-2 victory in the nightcap. Mike Ford twirled a four-hit shutout for Princeton in the seven-inning game, walking three while striking out just one batter. The Tiger lineup, meanwhile, pounded out 13 hits and scored seven runs in the first two frames against Kyle Hunter with Johnny Mishu driving in four runs.
In the second game, Adam Frank carried a no-hitter through six innings and the Big Green scored six runs in the seventh and eighth innings combined to pull away for the win. Thomas Roulis and Matt Robinson each hit their first collegiate home runs in the contest and collected four hits.
The Overall Record vs. Princeton
• The Tigers have the advantage in the all-time series, going 92-83 against Dartmouth.
• Over the last eight seasons, the Big Green have won 14 of the 19 meetings.
• Princeton is one of two Ivy teams that has not won a game at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park (0-4). But the Tigers are 18-20 on the site since the field was dedicated in Red Rolfe’s honor in 1970.
• Dartmouth head coach Bob Whalen has a 22-32 record against the Tigers.
• The two teams first met on the diamond in 1880 with Princeton winning both contests, 2-0 and 9-4. The Tigers won 17 of the first 18 games.
Scouting the Tigers
• Princeton struggled out of the gate, losing 15 of its first 16 games, but its record doesn’t completely indicate its competitiveness. The Tigers have played in nine games decided by one run, dropping eight of them, and last week they won three of their first four Ivy League contests.
• The lumber has been in a slumber for the Tigers with a league-worst .214 batting average, but they lead the conference with 96 walks drawn. Alec Keller (.333) and Danny Hoy (.300) are the only regulars hitting at least .260, and Keller has half of the team’s four home runs.
• Princeton has three very reliable starting pitchers that have combined for a 2.22 ERA with opponents hitting just .205 against them. The rest of the staff, however, has an 8.37 ERA, though Cameron Mingo (2.78) has been solid out of the bullpen.
• The Tigers defense has committed more errors than any other Ivy squad but has turned 17 double plays and gunned down more than a third of would-be base stealers.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• Dartmouth Head Coach will send senior RHP Cole Sulser (2-1, 1.88) to the mound for the first game. The fifth-year senior is looking to bounce back from his fourth career loss last time out. History is on his side as he has never won fewer than two decisions after a loss in his collegiate career. In the nine-inning game, senior LHP (1-1, 1.74) will climb the hill to exorcise his Tiger demons. He is 0-2 with a 9.16 ERA in three career starts against Princeton, and has surrendered 16 runs in his last eight innings versus the Tigers.
• Princeton is scheduled to throw a pair of right-handers in RHP Zak Hermans (1-2, 1.91) in the opener and RHP Cameron Mingo (0-2, 2.78) in the nightcap. Hermans has allowed just seven runs in his five starts this year, and last time shut out Yale, 4-0. Only one of the 19 hits off him in 28.1 innings has gone for extra bases. Mingo will be making just his second collegiate start and opponents are hitting .344 against him. Six of the 13 runs scored off of him have been unearned.
Last Time Against the Big Red
Cornell won four of the five meetings last year — all in Ithaca — including two of three in the Ivy Championship Series to win the league crown. In the regular season, Connor Kaufmann threw a seven-inning no-hitter for the Big Red in a 2-0 win, then rallied in game two to defeat Dartmouth, 5-2. Cornell then won the first game of the championship series, 11-3, as Marshall Yanzick went 5-for-5. righted the Big Green ship in the second game, carrying a shutout until two were out in the ninth in a 7-1 triumph. The final game was a classic that ended in the 11th when Chris Cruz hit a walk-off, two-run homer for a 3-1 win and the Ivy League title.
The Overall Record vs. Cornell
• Dartmouth has squared off against the Big Red 170 times, owning an 90-79-1 record.
• The Big Green have won 18 of the past 26 meetings, dating back to the 2002 season. That includes the 2009 Ivy Championship Series, which the Green won, two games to one.
• Cornell is 1-6 at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park and 18-23 in Hanover since 1970, but has lost 18 of the last 22 here.
• Dartmouth head coach has a 31-21 mark in games against Cornell.
• The first games in the series took place on April 10-11, 1906, with Cornell winning both games.
Scouting the Big Red
• Cornell owns the second-best record in the Ivy League behind Dartmouth and won 11 of 12 in one stretch. But the Big Red have lost their last two contests, 4-2 to Yale and 14-5 to Canisius.
• The Big Red rely on a strong pitching staff that sports a team ERA of 3.32, led by Nick Busto who is 3-0 with a 1.41 ERA in 32 innings.
• There is a strong stable of relievers in the pen as well, even with closer Kellen Urbon pitching just four times this year as six different pitchers have recorded at least one save.
• Offensively, Cornell averages close to five runs a game with a .258 batting average. J.D. Whetsel is the lone regular above .300, but the return of Chris Cruz to the lineup last week from an injury gives the Big Red a bit more pop.
• Overall the defense has been solid, though the left side of the infield has been suspect at times with 15 errors between the shortstop and the third baseman.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• With the nine-inning game first due to television, senior LHP Michael Johnson (4-0, 2.05) will be first up for the Big Green on the mound. The southpaw has recorded a quality start (6 or more IP, 3 or fewer ER) in each of his first four outings, and opponents are hitting just .198 against him thus far. For the seven-inning finale, junior LHP Mitch Horacek (4-0, 2.70) will toe the slab. As with Johnson, Dartmouth has won every game in which Horacek has appeared.
• Cornell’s rotation is unknown with any number of candidates pitching the first game. I’m going to guess LHP Zach McCulley (2-0, 2.29), who pitched 5.1 scoreless innings of relief in the nine-inning contest last Sunday. In the second game, RHP Brent Jones (4-0, 2.66) will likely be on the mound. The Big Red have won each of his five starts, so something will give when he squares off against Horacek.
What’s Up Next
Dartmouth will conclude a five-game homestand on Tuesday when Boston College comes to town for a game at 3 p.m. The following day, the Big Green are back on the road for another non-conference game, this one at Holy Cross at 4 p.m. Dartmouth will return to Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park next weekend to host a four-game Ivy League series with Brown with twinbills on Saturday and Sunday at noon.
Televised Game on April 7
Fox College Sports will broadcast the first televised baseball game at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park on April 7 when it airs the first game of the twinbill between Dartmouth and Cornell. The game will be a rematch of last year’s Ivy Championship Series which the Big Red won, two games to one, on a walk-off homer in the 11th inning of game three. This will be the first appearance on TV for the Big Green since playing in the 2010 NCAA Regional at Miami that was aired by ESPNU.
First Dartmouth won its first three games to win the Dairy Queen Classic hosted by the University of Minnesota at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and match its best start in the 24 years that head coach has directed the program. Then the Big Green extended their win streak to eight, equaling the most victories to start a season that was set by the 1903 squad. Currently, the 15-3 record marks the best 18-game start for any Dartmouth baseball team in this the 141st varsity season.
Double Down on Keller
isn’t seeing double, he is merely hitting doubles at an incredible rate. In the 17 games that he has played this year, the junior has swatted 13 two-baggers, which is tied for the most in the Ivy League, while his per game rate (0.76) leads all of Division I. The single-season record for a Big Green player is 20 by Bobby Jones ’89 in 1988. In addition, Keller was chosen as the Ivy League Player of the Week for March 25-31 as he hit .529 (9-for-17) with five doubles, a triple, two homers and eight RBIs over the five games.
Ivy Statistical Leaders
It’s no surprise that Dartmouth boasts numerous statistical leaders in the Ivy League with its 15-3 start to the season. As a team, the Big Green lead the Ancient Eight batting average (.311), on-base percentage (.377) and slugging (.457), as well as scoring (6.7 runs per game), ERA (2.78) and fielding percentage (.976). Among individuals, leads the loop in slugging at .730 and is tied for the most doubles with 13. On the mound, and are tied with three others with four victories, and is tied at the top with six saves.
A few things happened in the 9-4 victory at Quinnipiac on April 3 that had not occurred all season, such as freshman Adam Gauthier’s first two collegiate hits. Senior also hit his first home run of the season, and first in 210 at-bats dating back to the 2011 campaign. Also, junior Mike Dodakian picked up his first victory of the year with 2.2 shutout innings out of the bullpen. Finally, it was the first game back for Ryan Toimil since getting injured before the trip to Florida. He simply drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth and went 1-for-3 in his return.
Error-Free Sweep at Columbia
Of the 18 games Dartmouth has played to date, 10 have been without an error by the Big Green defense. In both games at Columbia on March 31, the fielders did right by their pitchers by playing flawlessly to help Dartmouth pull off a sweep by scores of 3-2 and 7-4. The Green are 8-2 when not committing an error, yet are even better when flubbing at least one play at 7-1. Go figure.
Penn Déjà Vu
The Ivy season didn’t begin as planned for the Big Green as Penn handed them a 3-2 loss in the opener on March 30. Dartmouth tried to salvage a split, but the Quakers again pulled out a 3-2 victory in the nightcap thanks to a walk-off sacrifice fly. The Green had not lost consecutive games in nearly a full calendar year, not since dropping two at Cornell on April 1-2 last season.
By striking out eight Penn hitters on March 30, senior moved into Dartmouth’s top 10 for career strikeouts with 172. He is two away from matching former teammate Kyle Hendricks ’12 and needs 28 to become the fifth pitcher in Big Green history to fan 200 batters. Three of the four that have achieved the milestone went on to pitch in the big leagues — Mike Remlinger, Art Quirk and Pete Broberg.
Hit Streak Ends at 14
Sophomore third baseman Nick Lombardi enjoyed a 14-game hitting streak that dated back to last year before taking the collar in the second game of the twinbill at Penn on March 30. Lombardi hit .407 (22-for-54) during the streak with six doubles, a triple, three home runs and 19 RBIs.