Columbia Takes Two to Win Ivy Championship Series
The Lions banged out 29 hits on the day, the most against Big Green pitchers over any two-game stretch all season. Joey Falcone led Columbia with six hits while Jordan Serena and Nick Crucet each had five, while the latter also had five RBIs.
The top four hitters in the Dartmouth lineup all had three hits in the twinbill, including junior Jeff Keller who blasted a two-run homer in the first inning of the first game for an early 2-0 Big Green lead.
But the Lions responded with three runs in the second with the help of a couple of errors. Nick Ferraresi and Aaron Silbar singled to start things off, then David Vandercook bunted a pitch back to the mound. Big Green left-hander Kyle Hunter fielded the ball and threw to third on the run, but it was dropped for an error, loading the bases with nobody out. Crucet then poked a ball just inside the right-field line for a two-run double, and a third run scored on a bobbled grounder for a 3-2 Columbia lead.
The Lions scored another unearned run in the fifth after Alex Black reached on a one-out error. Falcone singled Black to second and Ferraresi doubled him home, but missed out on more as Hunter escaped further damage by issuing an intentional walk to fill the bases before getting a strikeout and a routine grounder to third.
Meanwhile, Columbia left-hander David Speer was making quick work of the Big Green hitters, retiring 16 straight into the sixth inning. Keller broke the string with a two-out single, stole second and scored on junior Dustin Selzer’s second double of the game, cutting the deficit back to one at 4-3.
Senior Cole Sulser came on to pitch in the middle of last half of the sixth, and after stranding a runner at second, got into trouble in the seventh. The Lions loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a two-out walk before Mike Fischer worked Sulser for another free pass to force in a run.
Down 5-3 in the eighth, Dartmouth whittled the deficit to one when a pickoff throw to first by reliever Tim Giel was dropped, allowing sophomore Matt Parisi to score from third. Freshman Joe Purritano led off the ninth with a flare double to left and took third when the next pitch was wild, yet was still there with two down. After sophomore Matt MacDowell walked, junior Ryan Toimil was sent to the plate as a pinch hitter, and he delivered a game-tying single on a full-count pitch. Giel got the third out, however, to keep the score tied at five.
Sulser made quick work of the Lions in the bottom half, and it looked like the Green would take the lead in the 10th as senior Ennis Coble singled, Keller walked and Selzer was hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. But reliever Kevin Roy (1-0) got a soft liner to short and a pair of strikeouts to give Columbia a lift.
Fischer hit the first pitch in the Lions’ half of the 10th between the wall and chain-link fence in center for a ground-rule double, and Craig followed with a liner into left-center for the game-winning hit.
Sulser (5-3) was stuck with the loss having allowed two runs on five hits and a pair of walks in 3.2 innings while striking out five.
In the nightcap, Dartmouth again jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Selzer hit a sacrifice fly off Lion starter Joey Donino to score Parisi, who led off with a single, and Coble sprinted home on a two-out, third-strike wild pitch on which Purritano reached first.
And again, Columbia had an answer, tying the game in the second on a Silbar double, a David Vandercook triple and a Crucet grounder to second. The Lions took the lead in the third when Serena hit a leadoff double and scored from second on a deep fly to left.
In the fourth, senior southpaw Michael Johnson was touched for a fourth run on another leadoff double by Silbar, a fly to right to send Silbar to third and a suicide squeeze by Crucet.
As in the first game, Dartmouth battled back as Coble ripped a double to right to score Parisi who had singled, making it a 4-3 game. The Big Green greeted reliever Mike Weisman rudely in the sixth with Purritano and sophomore Nick Lombardi stroking back-to-back doubles and MacDowell hitting a one-out single over a drawn-in infield to put Dartmouth back on top, 5-4.
Reliever Michael Danielak (1-1), who had pitched a scoreless sixth, retired the first batter in the seventh before Columbia put its bats to work. Serena hit his second of three doubles in the game and took third when the ball got away in right-center. After Black walked, Falcone pulled a single between first and second to tie the game at five. Ferraresi followed with a two run double high off the fence in left-center. Dartmouth summoned sophomore closer Thomas Olson to the mound, but the first four Lions he faced reached base on alternating singles and hit batters. Eric Williams capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to center with Columbia holding a 10-5 lead.
The Lions tacked on two more runs in the ninth and reliever Stefan Olson (1-1) finished off the win by throwing the final 3.2 innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while fanning six.
Columbia will represent the Ivy League at an NCAA Regional at the end of this month.
Notes: Dartmouth ends its season with a school-record 32 victories and the lowest team ERA (2.75) since 1971 … the Big Green staff had not allowed more than nine runs in a game all season until the second game today … Dartmouth entered the game fourth in the country with a .982 fielding percentage, but committed three errors in each game, a total it had amassed in just one other game this season … the Big Green were 26-2 when scoring first before today.