HANOVER, N.H. — An overnight snow that shortened the scheduled doubleheader between the Columbia Lions and the host Dartmouth Big Green to a single game did not freeze out the Dartmouth bats in the early innings as the Big Green (6-13-1, 2-1-1 Ivy) scored five times in the first two frames, then held on to defeat the Lions (8-19, 4-3 Ivy) on Saturday, 5-4. It was the 100th victory for Dartmouth at Biondi Park since the stadium and FieldTurf were added to Red Rolfe Field prior to the 2009 season.
Junior Matt Feinstein capped the Dartmouth scoring with a three-run homer in the second, the first of his career, and sophomore Austen Michel closed the door with three scoreless innings to preserve the victory in the first of three games against Columbia this weekend.
Earning the win on the mound for the Big Green was junior Cole O’Connor, who battled through six-plus innings while surrendering four runs on seven hits. The right-hander, who entered the game leading the Ivy League and ranked 14th nationally in fewest walks issued per nine innings (0.86), doled out a career-high four free passes, but stranded seven runners in the six innings he completed.
O’Connor retired the side in order for the only time to start the game, then the Big Green offense provided him with a 1-0 lead after loading the bases with one out on a pair of walks and a single to right. Sophomore Michael Calamari then tapped a slow roller to first on a full-count pitch, allowing junior Sean Sullivan to score.
The Lions answered in the top of the second in a similar fashion, loading the bases on a pair of singles and a walk before Lane Robinette sent a fly to center to plate Chandler Bengtson from third for a sacrifice fly. O’Connor got the third out by pumping three strikes past Jack Chernow for his only strikeout of the afternoon, maintaining the 1-1 tie.
Junior Nate Ostmo quickly put Columbia starter Ty Wiest in trouble with a leadoff triple in the bottom half, and sophomore Blake Crossing dropped a single into shallow left to put the Big Green back on top. After a single by freshman Bennett McCaskill and a strikeout, Feinstein got hold of a 1-2 pitch and deposited it over the netting onto Park Street beyond the left-field fence for his three-run round-tripper and a 5-1 lead.
Robinette struck again in the fourth for the Lions, this time cranking a two-run home run to left-center, his first of the year, closing the gap to two runs at 5-3.
Dartmouth threatened to score in the third, fourth and fifth innings, knocking Wiest out of the game in the fourth, but could not pad its lead as it stranded two runners in each frame.
A diving catch in left by senior Dustin Shirley in the sixth helped O’Connor get through the inning, but when the first two batters reached in the seventh on a single and a walk, head coach Bob Whalen summoned Michel to the mound. The right-hander got the first out on a called third strike before being touched for a single to load the bases, yet appeared to escape the jam by inducing a grounder to second. The force was made at second, but the relay throw to first was off the mark, allowing a run to score. Michel didn’t flinch, however, stranding the tying run at third with a slow roller to first.
Michel then retired the side in order in both the eighth and ninth, adding three more strikeouts to his ledger, to earn his third save of the year.
Wiest (1-4) took the loss for surrendering the five runs on seven hits and four walks over 3.1 innings while striking out five. The Lion bullpen provided 4.2 scoreless innings, but Michel did his job to help Dartmouth beat Columbia for the fifth straight time.
Eight of the nine Big Green starters had at least one hit with McCaskill, Crossing and senior Justin Fowler each collecting two in the 11-hit attack.
Julian Bury was the lone Lion with two knocks while Robinette drove in three of the four Columbia runs.
The two teams will play a doubleheader on Sunday to conclude the three-game series, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Both games will be streamed live on the Ivy League Network, now available on Apple TV, Roku and the ILN app for Android and Apple devices, with Wayne Young ’72 and Bob Lipman calling the action, while the first game of the twinbill will also be available for viewing online on ESPN3.
Notes: Dartmouth is now 100-31 (.763) at Biondi Park and 71-24 (.747) against Ivy League teams there … Columbia second baseman Randell Kanemaru was stuck with an 0-for-5 day, ending his streak of reaching base at 46 games dating back to last year … Sullivan has the longest current streak of reaching base for Dartmouth at 14 games thanks to his leadoff walk in the first, but he left the game in the fifth inning with an injury after trying to turn a double play … Feinstein had three RBIs in a game for the sixth time in his career.