|April 7 • 11:30 a.m.||April 7 • ~2:30 p.m.||April 8 • 1 p.m.|
|ILN • Live Stats||ILN • Live Stats||ESPN3 • ILN • Live Stats|
|Starting Pitchers||Starting Pitchers||Starting Pitchers|
|D: RHP Cole O’Connor (2-3, 3.73)||D: RHP Clay Chatham (1-2, 5.40)||D: RHP Jack Fossand (1-2, 5.86)|
|C: RHP Ty Wiest (1-3, 8.78)||C: LHP Ben Wereski (1-2, 5.97)||C: RHP Harrison Egly (0-3, 6.15)|
Lions Roar Into Town
It’s a rivalry matchup in Hanover this weekend as the Columbia Lions come to town to face off against Dartmouth in a three-game, Ivy League series. These two teams have met in five of the last 10 Ivy League Championship Series, with Columbia winning four, but the Big Green have had the upper hand in the regular season, sweeping seven of the last 14 series and splitting the other seven. Columbia enters the weekend tied atop the conference standings while Dartmouth sits in fourth place.
The Overall Record vs. Columbia
• Dartmouth owns a fairly sizable advantage in the all-time series, 109-77, and has won the last four games with doubleheader sweeps each of the past two seasons.
• The past decade has featured these two teams in the Ivy League Championship Series five times, with the lone Big Green victory coming in 2010. Columbia won the showdowns in 2008, ’14, ’15 and ’16.
• Dartmouth head coach Bob Whalen has a 45-27 mark in games against Columbia and is 22-15 head-to-head against Lions coach Brett Boretti.
• Columbia split each of its first three doubleheaders at Biondi Park before the Big Green swept the Lions here two years ago for a 5-3 mark at the venue. But Dartmouth is 26-18 against Columbia on the site since the field was named in honor of Red Rolfe before the 1970 campaign, and 43-28 in Hanover since 1923.
Scouting the Lions
• Columbia has played the 33rd-most difficult schedule in Division I as rated by Boyd’s World, making its 8-18 overall record unsurprising.
• After taking two of three from Harvard in New York last weekend, the Lions won a mid-week matchup against St. John’s, 8-7.
• The offense has produced just a .255 batting average overall, but has come to life in conference games, hitting .330/.387/.448, though all six games have been at home.
• The Lions have three of the top seven hitters by average in the Ivy League: SS Joe Engel, last week’s Ivy Player of the Week, is second at .370, 2B Randell Kanemaru is third at .362 and DH Liam McGill tied for sixth at .333.
• The leading long-ball threats have been 1B Chandler Bengston (4) and McGill (3).
• The staff ERA has not improved nearly as much with the start of league play (7.03 overall, 6.67 versus Ivy teams), and only one weekend starter is averaging even five innings per outing.
• Expect to see Leo Pollack (1-1, 4.12 ERA) out of the bullpen at least once this weekend, having pitched in 14 of the 26 games to date. But Lucas Hall (0-0, 2.35, 2 saves) is the closer with 10 strikeouts and just two hits allowed in 7.2 innings.
• The defense is in the middle of the pack of the league with a .969 fielding percentage, but it is the best at shutting down the running game having thrown out 40 percent of potential base stealers.
Last Time Against the Lions
Dartmouth won both games in New York last year, scoring early in the opener to cruise to a 6-2 victory before scoring three times in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings each for a 9-2 triumph in the nightcap. Michael Danielak went the distance in the seven-inning game, allowing the two runs on eight hits while striking out eight. Matt Feinstein gave him all the runs he needed with three RBIs on a pair of singles as part of the 11-hit attack.
In the second game, the Lions touched up Cole O'Connor for two runs in the second on a solo homer and a squeeze bunt. But those were the only runs as O’Connor finished five frames before yielding to Michael Parsons, who picked up his only save with four scoreless innings of relief. Kyle Holbrook gave the Big Green the lead in the fourth with a two-run bomb after an RBI single by Michael Ketchmark, then added a run-scoring double in the seventh to help put the game out of reach.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• Dartmouth will turn to junior RHP Cole O'Connor (2-3, 3.73) to start the first game. Last week he hurled seven innings of three-run ball at Penn, striking out six without a walk, to defeat the Quakers, 5-4. He will be matched up against RHP Ty Wiest (1-3, 8.78), who has allowed opponents to hit .382 this year but has struck out 20 in 26.2 IP.
• The second game will feature senior RHP Clay Chatham (1-2, 5.40), who tossed six innings and yielding three runs last week at Penn, missing out on his second victory by one strike as the Quakers rallied to tie the game in the ninth. Columbia has LHP Ben Wereski (1-2, 5.97) scheduled to start on the bump with a solid 27-9 K-BB ratio in 31.2 innings of work, though he has hit nine batters.
• The finale on ESPN3 will pit senior RHP Jack Fossand (1-2, 5.86) against RHP Harrisen Egly (0-3, 6.15). Fossand dazzled at Penn, striking out a career-high 11 over the first eight innings before tiring in the ninth in what ended up a 4-4 tie. Egly, a first-team All-Ivy reliever as a freshman two years ago, has struggled with control a bit, walking 15 in 26.1 innings with 18 strikeouts.
What’s Up Next
Dartmouth hosts UMass Lowell on Tuesday afternoon in a game that was originally scheduled to be played on the road, but the stadium will not be ready in time for the game. Next weekend, the Big Green get back on the road for a three-game series at Cornell.
Last Week in Review
• Dartmouth had a golden opportunity to sweep the three-game series at Penn, starting with a 5-4 win in the opener.
• Every starter had at least one hit for the second straight game, while Cole O’Connor picked up the win and Austen Michel came on and earned the save by getting the final six outs.
• Game two slipped away as Dartmouth could not hold one-run leads in the ninth or 10th, falling in 11 innings, 8-7.
• The series finale saw the Green up three in the ninth only to have the Quakers rally to tie the game, which is how it ended at 4-4 after 11 innings.
• The non-conference game scheduled during the week against Holy Cross was rained out on Wednesday.
First League Tie in 31 Years
You can forgive some folks for wondering if Dartmouth and Penn were playing an April Fool’s prank on them when the final game of the series, played on April 1, ended as a 4-4 tie after 11 innings due to darkness. It was the first tie in league play since Yale and Princeton battled to a draw in 1987, 31 years ago. And it was the first tie in a conference game for Dartmouth in 36 years when the Big Green and Navy battled to a 7-7 draw. The most recent tie of any kind came last year at Siena, 9-9.
Fossand Fans 11
Right-hander Jack Fossand had his best stuff going at Penn on April 1 as he retired 16 of the first 17 batters he faced and made it through a career-high eight innings having surrendered one run while striking out a 11, also a personal best and the most by a Big Green pitcher in two years. His performance went for naught, however, as Penn rallied for three runs in the ninth in a game that ended in a 4-4 tie.
When senior Kyle Holbrook belted a two-out, solo home run in the 10th inning to give Dartmouth a 7-6 lead in the second game at Penn, it was the first four-bagger hit by a Big Green hitter in extra innings in 15 years. The last one was a walk-off, two-run shot off the bat of Kyle Zurhellen in the 11th inning for a 7-5 victory at Cornell on April 12, 2003. And yes, it was at Cornell and still a walk-off homer; the series was scheduled to be played in Hanover but weather forced it to be moved to Ithaca. The last Dartmouth long ball in extras hit in Hanover came the year prior by Derek Draper, a walk-off, solo shot to beat Yale, 7-6, in 10 innings.
Got To Keep On Walking
Dartmouth certainly had enough base runners in the second game at Penn, thanks in part to Big Green batters drawing a dozen walks, their most since the 2017 season opener. On top of that, Quaker pitchers also hit three batters, giving Dartmouth 15 free base runners. Coincidentally, that is also the number of runners the Green left on base, their most since … the 2017 season opener.
Modest Hit Streaks
Three Dartmouth players are currently on a five-game hit streak entering the weekend — junior Nate Ostmo, and sophomores Michael Calamari and Blake Crossing. Ostmo has shown the most power during his streak, going 8-for-20 with two doubles and a homer, not to mention four walks as well for an even .500 on-base percentage. Crossing has the best average in that span (.467), plus has walked seven times for a whopping .652 OBP. Calamari has had two hits in one of the five games, sporting a .261 average during his streak. The longest hit streak this season belongs to senior Dustin Shirley, whose 12-gamer that spanned four weeks (Feb. 24-March 23) was the longest by a Dartmouth player in five years.
Cole Fuels 5-4 Win at Penn
Junior Cole O'Connor provided a solid pitching performance in the Ivy League opener to help Dartmouth earn a 5-4 win at Penn on March 31. The right-hander faced one over the minimum through five innings and finished his stint with a quality start, yielding three runs over seven stanzas without a walk while striking out six. All told for the weekend, Big Green starters held the Quakers to one run combined over the first five innings in all of the three games.
Error Free in Philly
The defense had struggled through the non-conference portion of the schedule, averaging about 1.5 errors per game for a fielding percentage of .961 with just one game error-free out of the first 16. But at Penn, Dartmouth tightened things up and played all three games without an error.
Junior Sean Sullivan continued to top the Ivy league in batting with his .432 average, which also ranks fifth nationally entering the weekend. Senior Dustin Shirley gives Dartmouth two among the top five in average at .342 (fifth), and Sullivan also ranks second in OBP (.505) and first in toughest to strike out (once every 13.5 at-bats). In the pitching department, junior Cole O’Connor has walked the fewest batters per nine innings (0.86, 14th nationally) and owns the best K-BB ratio (6.67), while senior Clay Chatham is second in BB per nine (1.5) and fifth in K-BB ratio (4.20). In addition, sophomore Austen Michel is tied for the league lead with a pair of saves.
The 11-4 triumph over Quinnipiac on March 28 was the Big Green’s first home-opening win since 2013. Dartmouth is now 6-4 in home openers at Biondi Park, 19-10 under head coach Bob Whalen and 28-21 at Red Rolfe Field since it was dedicated in 1970.
Biondi Park, Season 10
As per usual, Dartmouth spent the first month of the season on the road, this time with a trip to Georgia Tech, another to the state of Florida and finally a nine-game trek in California. The Big Green are happy to be back at home in Hanover where they have had terrific success since the construction of Biondi Park prior to the 2009 campaign. With the win in the home opener, Dartmouth now owns a record of 99-31 at the venue, a winning percentage of .762, including a 70-24 mark (.745) against Ivy League teams.