Baseball Takes on Brown in Crucial Ivy Series
The Games: Dartmouth (10-17, 5-7) at Brown (8-18, 2-10)
Location: Murray Stadium (1,000), Providence, R.I.
First pitches: Saturday, April 19 at noon / Sunday, April 20 at noon
Series Record vs. Brown: Big Green lead 136-103-1
Complete Weekend Notes
Division Race Shaping Up
Dartmouth begins the weekend a game behind Yale in the Rolfe Division standings with eight games left on the docket. But it’s not just a two-team race as Harvard is just one game behind the Big Green with a chance to make up ground by playing the Bulldogs in New Haven this weekend.
The Big Green, meanwhile, will try to tame a Brown team that has the worst record in the league, but just won its first two Ivy games last weekend on the road at Harvard. Those wins came right after the Bears’ head coach of 18 years, Marek Drabinski, resigned his position.
Last Week in Review
• Dartmouth picked up two games in the standings last weekend by taking three of four from Yale, then was forced to cancel its only non-conference contest of the week against UMass Lowell on Tuesday due to rain.
• Thomas Roulis was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after hitting .385 in the six games last week, collecting 10 hits, five runs and five RBIs, not to mention his flawless play at second base.
• Beau Sulser got the series against the Bulldogs started off right by going the distance in the seven-inning 8-2 victory. The right-hander did not walk a batter while striking out five, and Nick Lombardi bashed a pair of home runs to drive in half of the Big Green’s runs.
• The offense gave Louis Concato an early six-run lead, and the right-hander cruised through a career-long eight innings to earn a 12-3 win. Nick Ruppert scored three runs, Roulis drove in three and Dustin Selzer banged out two doubles and a single, three of his eight hits on the weekend.
• The bats went silent in the third game as Yale’s Chris Lanham twirled a four-hit shutout. The Bulldogs scored the only run they would need in the first, then broke open the game in the sixth with a five-spot in the 6-0 Yale win.
• In the final game of the series, Adam Gauthier had a clutch two-out, two-run single in the fifth to tie the score at two, and Selzer ripped an RBI double in the sixth for the winning run in a 4-2 triumph. Duncan Robinson hurled four shutout innings in relief to earn the victory.
Last Time Against the Bears
Dartmouth took all four games from Brown in Hanover last year by a combined score of 27-5 with shutouts in both of the seven-inning contests. The closest game was the series opener in which Cole Sulser outdueled Anthony Galan in a 2-0 Big Green victory. Sulser allowed just three hits and struck out eight, Joe Purritano went 3-for-3 with an RBI and Jeff Keller scored one run and drove in the other. The bats got going in game two as Dartmouth knocked out the Bear starter in the second en route to an 11-3 triumph. Purritano smacked a triple and two homers in driving in five runs, while Matt Parisi was a perfect 5-for-5 with three doubles.
The following day, Mitch Horacek twirled a five-hit shutout as six different Big Green hitters drove in at least one run, with Ennis Coble plating two, in the 7-0 win. The final game was the Purritano show again as he blasted two more long balls, while Coble stroked four hits and had two more RBIs in a 7-2 victory. Michael Johnson earned the win by allowing one earned run over seven stanzas before Michael Danielak and Thomas Olson finished up with a scoreless inning apiece. After the weekend, Purritano was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball.
The Overall Record vs. Brown
• Dartmouth has played the Bears 240 times since the first meeting in 1871, with the Big Green having the edge, 136-103-1.
• The Big Green have won the season series each of the past six years, sweeping the last two series in Hanover and taking three of four the other four years.
• In the divisional era (since 1993), Dartmouth has been quite successful on Brown’s home field, going 30-16 and gaining at least a split on all but three occasions. Since the Bears started playing at the site in 1959, the Big Green are 48-25 there.
• Dartmouth head coach Bob Whalen is 54-39 against the Bears during his tenure in Hanover, including a pair of games the two played against each other in Hawaii back in 1992.
• The first game between the two clubs came back in 1871, a 41-17 victory for Brown. No, that is not a football score.
Scouting the Bears
• Brown thus far has the league’s worst record in conference play at 2-10, and overall has lost eight of its last 10 games with the two victories coming last weekend on the road at Harvard.
• At the plate, the Bears have the lowest team batting average at .232, and against Ivy teams that figure plummets to .181. Yet like Dartmouth, they have averaged about four runs per game on the season.
• Daniel Massey has been Brown’s best hitter with a .280 average while slugging .520 thanks to four home runs. No other Bear is slugging even .380 this year.
• On the mound, Brown pitchers have posted an ERA similar to Dartmouth at 5.66, while freshman Christian Taugner has been the best hurler with a 2.27 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 39.2 innings.
• The bullpen has produced one save, that by Taylor Wright who is joined by Chris Smith as the Bears’ most dependable relievers.
• Defensively Brown has a .963 fielding percentage with 32 errors in 26 games. Those miscues have been costly, however, as they have led to 30 unearned runs, and 17 in the 12 Ivy games.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• Dartmouth will stick with the rotation it has used during the first three conference weekends, beginning with sophomore RHP (2-3, 3.93). His ERA against Ivy teams is a sparkling 2.21, 10th best in the league, and he is coming off a seven-inning, complete-game 8-2 victory over Yale in which he struck out five. Brown will likely counter with RHP Anthony Galan (1-3, 4.35), who last year allowed just two runs in six innings against the Big Green.
• The second game will feature senior RHP (1-2, 3.48) against rookie RHP Christian Taugner (1-4, 2.27). Concato held Yale in check for eight innings last week to pick up his first win of 2014, while Taugner has struggled his past two outings after beginning the season with four quality starts, surrendering 14 runs (but only five earned) over 10.2 innings.
• On Sunday, the Big Green will send RHP (0-5, 5.88) to the bump for the third game of the series. He dominated the Bulldog lineup for five innings last week before tiring in the sixth. Brown has RHP Dave St. Lawrence (1-4, 4.66), the reigning Ivy co-Pitcher of the Week, ready to go after he beat Harvard, 1-0.
• The series finale will match up Big Green freshman RHP Mike Concato (0-2, 4.71) against Bear RHP Lucas Whitehill (1-3, 7.12). Concato tossed five solid innings against Yale last week, yielding two runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Whitehill has made five starts this year — three quality, the other two disasters, including last week’s eight runs allowed in the first frame.
What’s Up Next
Dartmouth will host St. Anselm on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. before wrapping up the Ivy League regular season with a doubleheader at Harvard at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and another twinbilll the following day at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park, also at 1 p.m. The four games with the Crimson will almost assuredly be crucial in the Rolfe Division race for either or both teams.
One More to Reach 500
Entering the weekend, Dartmouth head coach is sitting on 499 career victories in this his 25th season at the helm of the Big Green. He is currently fourth all-time among coaches from the Ivy schools, trailing only Penn’s Bob Sneddon (634 wins, 1971-2005), Princeton’s Bill Clarke (564, 1909-44) and Cornell’s Ted Thoren (541, 1962-90).
Ivy Player of the Week
Junior picked up a nice piece of hardware as the Ivy League’s Player of the Week ending April 13. The second sacker collected 10 hits in six games over the week, hitting .385 with five runs and five RBIs while playing flawlessly in the field. First he went 3-for-5 and scored one of the two Big Green runs in a 2-1 win at Boston College. The next day, Roulis provided the spark to start a four-run, ninth-inning rally to beat Holy Cross, 8-7, with a leadoff bunt single, his second hit of the game. Then in the series victory over Yale, he stroked five hits and drove in four runs, including an RBI triple to start the offense in a 12-3 victory.
Selzer Saves Best for Ivies
Senior struggled throughout the non-conference portion of the schedule, but has come alive against his Ivy brethren. The first baseman is sixth in league games with a .371 average after rapping out eight hits against Yale, including the game-winning double in the series finale. He also leads Dartmouth with 13 hits, four doubles, eight RBIs and a .436 on-base percentage In Ivy games.
Hosting ICS Still Possible
Penn and Columbia may be far ahead in the Gehrig standings, but if things fall just right for Dartmouth, it could still serve as host for the Ivy Championship Series by virtue of owning the best record among the eight teams. All that has to happen is:
• Dartmouth wins its final eight games;
• Princeton sweeps Penn this weekend;
• Cornell sweeps Columbia this weekend;
• Columbia takes three of four from Penn;
• Princeton and Cornell split OR Princeton wins three of four.
That scenario would leave the Big Green at 13-7 and three teams in the Gehrig Division (Penn, Columbia and either Princeton or Cornell) at 12-8. Hey, it could happen …
Robinson Tied for Most Wins
After another stellar outing, sophomore maintained his place in the Ivy leaders atop the wins column. He tossed four scoreless innings of relief on just two hits against Yale on April 13, allowing the Big Green to rally for a 4-2 win. It was Robinson’s fifth win of the season, tied with Yale’s Chris Lanham for most in the league. But Robinson has a higher percentage of his team’s victories (five of 10, Yale has won 14 games).
Spreading the Run Wealth
In the 12-3 win over Yale on April 12, each of the nine spots in the Dartmouth batting order scored at least one run, including three by sophomore . The center fielder leads the team with 20 runs scored on the season, and in 12 Ivy games he has crossed the plate 13 times — nearly 30 percent of the team’s total.
Lengthening Elder Concato
In each of his last two starts, senior has pitched further into the game then ever before for the Big Green. First he threw seven innings against Columbia on April 5, then he managed eight innings in a 12-3 win over Yale, his first victory of the season. Concato allowed just six hits in each of those starts and fanned seven batters combined.
Lombardi Launches Two Homers
Entering the Yale series without a home run to his credit, junior took care of that statistical column by bashing not one, but two four-baggers against the Bulldogs. While his first one was a solo shot, the second one came with two men on base. Those were the 11th and 12th homers of the season for the Big Green, but that three-run shot was the first one that wasn’t of the solo variety.
Sulser In Control
Sophomore did not walk a batter while striking out five in his complete-game win over Yale on April 12. The right-hander not only has the best strikeout rate on the team (6.62 per nine innings), but also the lowest walk rate (1.47 per nine). That latter figure is also the fourth-best in the Ivy League.
Junior has played a flawless second base thus far, successfully handling all 130 of his chances in the field. His errorless streak goes back even further than that as he has not booted a ball since his freshman year on April 24, 2012, spanning 39 games in the field and 188 chances.