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Hunter's Shutout Highlights Sweep of Yale

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Junior Kyle Hunter twirled a three-hit shutout in the first game on Saturday for a 2-0...     By Mark Washburn

HANOVER, N.H. — Dartmouth junior left-hander Kyle Hunter tossed a complete-game shutout in the first game of a doubleheader that took just one hour and 13 minutes to play, and sophomore Jeff Keller had three hits with a homer and three RBIs to lead the Big Green in the nightcap to complete a four-game sweep of visiting Yale on Saturday afternoon at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park. Dartmouth (17-15, 11-5 Ivy) has won eight straight games with the 2-0 and 8-4 victories, while the Bulldogs dropped to 9-30-1 on the season and 2-14 in Ivy play.

Hunter (2-3) mowed through the Yale lineup with extreme efficiency, yielding just three hits without while facing just one over the minimum as he induced a pair of double plays. The southpaw did not walk a batter and struck out three, throwing just 67 pitches to earn his first career shutout and second straight win.

The first 10 Bulldog batters went down in order before Cale Hanson singled in the fourth with one down. But he was immediately erased on a twin-killing to end the inning. The only Yale hitter to reach second base came in the fifth when Kevin Fortunato his a leadoff double, only to get gunned down on a comebacker to the mound one out later. Hanson started the seventh with a single, only to be snuffed out on the bases on another double play. Hunter then easily snagged a grounder off Fortunato’s bat to end the game.

Hunter’s counterpart was the Ivy League ERA leader at 2.50 in right-hander Pat Ludwig. The first time through the lineup, Ludwig surrendered just a one-out single in the first by freshman Thomas Roulis, who was caught stealing to end the inning, and a two-out walk to junior Ennis Coble in the second. With one gone in the fourth, however, junior Chris O’Dowd hit a liner to center and hustled into second with a double. Up to the plate stepped sophomore clean-up hitter, Dustin Selzer, who did not miss a 2-0 pitch, crushing it over the fence in left-center for his fifth home run of the season and a 2-0 lead.

The only other base runners for the Big Green came on one-out singles by freshman Matt Robinson and O’Dowd in the fifth and sixth frames, respectively. O’Dowd finished the game 2-for-3 with a run and a stolen base.

Despite his terrific ERA, Ludwig fell to 0-5 on the season, yielding just the two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out six.

Yale scored first in the series finale for the third time in the four games, touching junior left-hander Michael Johnson for a run in the top of the first. Ryan Brenner hit the first pitch of the game for a single and moved up to second on a walk to Hanson — the first free pass issued by a Big Green pitcher in the series. Jacob Hunter hit a fly ball deep enough to allow Brenner to take third, and Fortunato followed with a sacrifice fly.

In the bottom half, Dartmouth answered back with two out. O’Dowd lined a ball to right-center that was dropped for a three-base error, and after Selzer worked a walk from Bulldog starter Nolan Becker, Keller got his first hit of the game by lacing an RBI single to left. Coble followed with a single back through the box, scoring Selzer from second for a 2-1 Big Green lead.

Dartmouth senior Jake Carlson got things going in the second with a one-out single, then took second when a pickoff throw squirted away. Senior Joe Sclafani then drove a ball deep into the gap in left-center for an RBI double, and one out later, O’Dowd duplicated Sclafani with a laser past the third baseman.

Keller took Becker deep to start the third, his third four-bagger of the season, giving the Green a 5-1 lead.

Johnson, meanwhile, faced the minimum in the second through fourth innings with some help from his defense that turned two double plays behind him. He got into trouble in the fifth, however, as Yale loaded the bases with nobody out on two singles and an error. Chris Piwinski worked the count full before sending the ball into left-center for a bases-clearing double to get the Bulldogs within a run at 5-4. Johnson was able to maintain the lead as he retired the next three batters, stranding Piwinski at third.

Dartmouth added a run in the fifth when Coble walked with one out, scooted to third on a single to left-center by freshman Nick Lombardi, and sprinted home on a wild pitch. In the eighth, the Big Green tacked on the final two runs on RBI singles by O’Dowd and Keller.

After Piwinski’s double in the fifth, Johnson and sophomore reliever Mike Dodakian set down the final 15 Bulldog batters in order to close out the game. Johnson (3-1) matched a career-high with seven innings on the mound, allowing the four runs, three earned, on five hits and a pair of walks with three punchouts. Dodakian, who entered the game with the Big Green leading, 6-4, tossed two perfect innings for his second save.

Becker (1-4) took the loss, yielding six runs, four earned, on eight hits and two walks while fanning five in five frames.

Keller was 3-for-5 while driving in three, while O’Dowd was 2-for-5 with two RBIs to lead the Dartmouth 12-hit attack. Selzer had his 13-game hit streak snapped, going 0-for-3 with a pair of walks.

Dartmouth returns to the diamond of Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park on Tuesday, April 24, when it hosts Quinnipiac at 3 p.m. Yale returns to New Haven, to take on Holy Cross on Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m.

Notes: The last time Dartmouth pitchers did not issue a walk in three consecutive games came 15 year ago in a doubleheader against Princeton and the first of two games against Cornell in Hanover on April 12-13, 1997 … the Big Green own a four-game lead in the Rolfe Division over Harvard (7-9) with just a four-game series left in the regular season against the Crimson next weekend.