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Hunter Salvages Split with Career-High 11 Strikeouts

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Kyle Hunter struck out a career-high 11 batters in eight-plus innings.     By Eric Miller
HANOVER, N.H. — Senior Kyle Hunter struck out a career-high 11 Princeton Tigers in the second game of an Ivy League doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park, helping Dartmouth (16-4, 3-3 Ivy) salvage a split with a 6-1 victory. In the first game, Princeton (6-19, 4-2 Ivy) got a seven-inning complete game from right-hander Zak Hermans and the Tiger bats rapped out 13 hits to defeat the Big Green, 7-1.

After surrendering hits to two of the first three hitters he faced, Hunter (2-1) was in complete control. The left-hander struck out at least one batter in seven of his eight innings and retired 12 straight at one point. Princeton managed just four hits off of Hunter and one run that came in the first, plus drew two walks while whiffing 11 times. Nine of Hunter’s other 13 outs were on the ground as he threw 112 pitches in his outing.

Alex Flink gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, however, lofting a sacrifice fly to right to score Danny Hoy. The Big Green got that run back in the second when junior Jeff Keller hit a lead-off double, took third on a grounder to first and trotted home on a deep fly to right off the bat of sophomore Nick Lombardi.

Dartmouth took its first lead of the afternoon in the fourth inning thanks to some sloppy Princeton fielding. Junior Dustin Selzer ripped a single to left-center and took third on a Keller single to right-center. The throw back to the infield was dropped for an error, allowing Keller to take second. Tiger hurler Cameron Mingo got the first out on a called third strike, but Lombardi then hit a chopper to short that was fielded cleanly but overthrown at first for an error as Selzer came home. Sophomore Matt MacDowell got down 0-2 in the count but managed to poke an RBI single to left, and after a fly ball sent Lombardi to third, sophomore Matt Parisi beat out an infield single to make it a 4-1 game.

In the fifth, Keller’s hustle got the Big Green their fifth run. With one down, he swung at a pitch that bounced for strike three, but he was able to reach when the throw to first was late and hit him in the back, allowing him to advance to second. Freshman Joe Purritano then found a hole between first and second for a single to score Keller.

The final run was provided by Keller and Purritano again in the seventh as the former lashed a triple to right-center with two gone and Purritano hit an identical RBI single as his previous at-bat.

Hunter issued a 10-pitch walk to Mike Ford to start the ninth, and head coach Bob Whalen went right to sophomore closer Thomas Olson, who threw one pitch to get a double play. The game ended on a spectacular spinning play by freshman Trent Goodrich on a ball up the middle, who threw a strike to first to nip the runner trying to beat it out.

Mingo (0-3) took the loss having yielded five runs, only two earned, on six hits and a walk over five frames.

Keller scored four of Dartmouth’s six runs as he went 3-for-4 with a single, double and triple. Both Purritano and Lombardi had two RBIs.

In the first game, Princeton scored a run in the first as well on consecutive one-out singles by Hoy,  and Steve Harrington. Also like the second game, the Big Green tied the score at one when sophomore Thomas Roulis singled with out one, went to third on a looping double down the left-field line by senior Ennis Coble and trotted home on a Selzer sacrifice fly.

Dartmouth threatened again in the second as the first two batters reached on an error and a walk, but after a bunt attempt failed, Hermans escaped without any damage. It would be the last serious scoring threat for the Green.

The top of the Tiger order got to Dartmouth senior right-hander Cole Sulser (2-2) in the third as Alec Keller hit the first pitch of the inning over the scoreboard in right-center for his third home run of the season. Hoy and Ford then hit back-to-back doubles, and three batters later Will Davis singled home Ford for a 4-1 Princeton lead. A diving stop by Selzer at first with two out and two on kept the Tigers from scoring more.

Princeton scored twice more in the fifth with two outs. Billy Arendt singled to send Flink, who had walked, to second and Tyler Servais pulled a pitch through the right side for a single, scoring Flink. The throw to the plate allowed the other runners to move up a base, and a wild pitch brought home Arendt.

In the seventh, the Tigers tacked on one more thanks to a bases-loaded walk.

Hermans (2-2) allowed just five hits and one run in his seven innings of work, walking two and striking out four. Hoy led the 13-hit Tiger attack by going 3-for-5 with a pair of runs while Alec Keller drove in two.

For the first time in his career, Sulser (2-2) suffered a second straight loss, giving up six runs on 10 hits and two walks over five frames with four strikeouts. He is now 17-5 in his Big Green career. Roulis had two of Dartmouth’s five hits.

Next up for Dartmouth is a doubleheader on Sunday at noon against Cornell (16-9, 4-2 Ivy) in a rematch of last year’s Ivy Championship Series that the Big Red won, two games to one. The first game will be a nine-inning contest and televised by Fox College Sports with Eric Frede calling the action and Wayne Young ’72 providing analysis.