HANOVER, N.H. — The Ivy League Baseball Preseason Media Poll was announced on Wednesday afternoon, and the Dartmouth Big Green were pegged to finish third while receiving 92 points and one of the 16 first-place votes. Last year’s champion, Yale, was picked to successfully defend its crown, receiving 125 points and the other 15 first-place votes, while Columbia finished second in the poll with 101.
The Big Green just edged out Penn in the poll by a single point, while the teams ranked fifth through seventh — Harvard (50), Princeton (49) and Cornell (48) — were separated by only one point as well. Brown rounded out the poll with 21.
The Ivy League has disbanded the divisional format it had used since 1993, opting for a true round-robin format in which the teams play three-game series against every opponent for a balanced schedule. The two teams that finish with the best records in conference play will meet in a best-of-three Ivy League Championship Series to be hosted by the squad that wins the regular-season crown. The winner of that series will earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals.
Dartmouth, which finished second in the Rolfe Division last year with an 11-9 record while posting an overall mark of 22-17-1, returns seven starters in the lineup, led by senior Kyle Holbrook (.329/.395/.461). Three other returning regulars hit better than .300 as well, while Holbrook along with sophomore Trevor Johnson (.250/.387/.386) each hit four home runs last year to provide some pop.
The pitching staff took a hit from graduation last year as Ivy League Pitcher of the Year Beau Sulser and second-team All-Ivy League starter Michael Danielak both finished up their studies and were selected in the MLB Draft. The Big Green’s top reliever, Chris Burkholder, also graduated last spring, all of which have created opportunities for the other pitchers on the staff.
Junior Cole O’Connor (4-2, 4.27) will assume the duties as the ace of the staff, while seniors Jack Fossand and Clay Chatham along with sophomores Austen Michel and Michael Parsons will all vie to fill out the weekend rotation.
Dartmouth opens the 2018 season with a three-game series at Georgia Tech next weekend, starting with a game on Friday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. (EST).