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Courtesy: Sharon Ellman

Baseball Takes Two at Brown; Whalen Gets 500th Win

Courtesy: Dartmouth
Release: 04/21/2014
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PROVIDENCE, R.I.Bob Whalen picked up his 500th win as the head coach of the Dartmouth baseball team with the first of two victories at Brown on Sunday afternoon as the Big Green (12-19, 7-9 Ivy) salvaged a split of the four-game series with the Bears (10-20, 4-12 Ivy). Freshman Mike Concato twirled a four-hit shutout and junior Nick Lombardi homered and doubled in the historic 7-0 win, and sophomore Joe Purritano homered and drove in the final two runs to back the stellar start by junior Chris England in a 3-2 triumph.

Now in his 25th season at the helm of the Big Green, Whalen achieved the milestone in his third attempt as the Bears swept a doubleheader yesterday. The offense didn’t waste any time taking command of the opener today, putting four runs on the board after two were out. Junior Thomas Roulis singled and senior Dustin Selzer walked before Purritano rapped a 2-0 pitch back up the middle to bring Roulis home. Lombardi then stroked an RBI double to left, and junior Bo Patterson followed with a two-run single to center.

The bottom of the first began with a Robert Henry double, but Concato settled right in and retired 15 of the next 16 hitters as the score remained 4-0. The Bears got their second hit of the game when Noah Shulman led off the sixth with a base hit, and one out later J.J. Franco walked to put runners at first and second. Concato calmly induced an inning-ending double play to retire the side.

In the seventh, Brown hurler Dave St. Lawrence entered the frame having retired 15 of the previous 16 batters to match Concato’s stretch, but Lombardi put an end to that by launching his third home run of the season over the fence in left. Patterson followed by dropping down a bunt for a single and scored when sophomore Adam Gauthier ripped a triple. St. Lawrence then balked, allowing Gauthier to trot home with the seventh and final run.

Concato returned to the mound in the bottom half to secure his first collegiate victory and go for the shutout, but he got into trouble after allowing a single and a double with one gone. After getting the second out on a foul pop, he issued his third walk of the afternoon to load the bases. That would be it for the Bears, however, as Concato jumped ahead of Shulman and induced a foul pop to  Gauthier behind the plate on a 1-2 pitch to end the game.

The rookie Concato (1-2) needed 108 pitches to complete the seven-inning shutout, allowing seven base runners and striking out six. The only runner to reach third against him came in the final frame.

Roulis, Lombardi and Patterson each had two hits in the nine-hit attack for the Big Green, with the latter two driving in a pair of runs. Lombardi also scored twice to lead the offense.

St. Lawrence (1-5), who last week was the Ivy League’s co-Pitcher of the Week, went the distance and surrendered all seven runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out six.

In the nightcap, England was called upon to make his first career Ivy start, and he came through with seven-plus solid innings for the Big Green. The right-hander retired the first seven batters he faced before Wes Van Boom and Shulman hit back-to-back doubles for a 1-0 Brown lead. England would go on to let just three other Bears reach base during his stint.

England’s counterpart, Lucas Whitehill, was just as impressive over his first five innings, keeping Dartmouth off the board while allowing just four singles and striking out seven. But in the sixth, sophomore Nick Ruppert led off with a single, took second on a grounder to first, then raced home on Selzer’s single to tie the score. Selzer was able to take second on the throw to the plate, which proved to be important when Purritano stroked another single that sent Selzer scurrying home with the go-ahead run.

Dartmouth picked up an insurance run in the eighth when Purritano launched a one-out, solo blast to left-center, his second four-bagger of the series and third of the season off reliever Chris Smith. That run proved to be crucial when Daniel Massey led off the bottom half with a solo shot of his own, his sixth of the year, on England’s 81st pitch of the afternoon.

Whalen went to his bullpen to get the final six outs, beginning with freshman Chris Burkholder, who erased a one-out single with a double-play grounder to end the eighth. After he walked J.J. Franco to start the ninth, sophomore Duncan Robinson was summoned from the bullpen, and he got a pop up for the first out before Gauthier gunned down Franco trying to steal. One more infield pop and Robinson had his first career save.

The Bears managed just four hits off England (2-0) in his seven-plus stanzas as the junior walked just one and struck out one.

Four Dartmouth hitters collected a pair of hits — Keller, Selzer, Purritano and Lombardi — to hand Whitehill (1-4) a tough-luck loss as he gave up two runs in seven innings, matching England.

The Big Green return home to host Division II St. Anselm on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in a game that will be streamed live on Big Green Insider on the Ivy League Digital Network. Brown hits the road for its next game, playing on Wednesday at Bryant at 4 p.m.

Notes: Whalen’s career record stands at 501-472-1 ... of Purritano's eight career home runs, six have come against Brown, and the left-handed hitter has a career .536 average in 28 at-bats against the Bears with a 1.250 slugging percentage ... England has started three games in his career, winning all three (other two starts are against Boston College).

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