|April 14 • 11:30 a.m.||April 14 • ~2:30 p.m.||April 15 • 1 p.m.|
|ILN • Live Stats||ILN • Live Stats||ILN • Live Stats|
|Starting Pitchers||Starting Pitchers||Starting Pitchers|
|D: RHP Cole O’Connor (3-3, 4.10)||D: RHP Clay Chatham (1-2, 6.06)||D: RHP Jack Fossand (1-3, 5.85)|
|C: RHP Tim Willittes (2-3, 5.06)||C: RHP Seth Urbon (0-2, 6.19)||C: LHP Tyler Fernandez (0-3, 8.66)|
First of Two Straight Ivy Road Series
Dartmouth begins a seven-game road swing this weekend with a series at Cornell, which currently resides in the basement of the Ivy League standings at 1-5. But the Big Green have won just two games on the road this season, so expect these games to go down to the wire, much like the first four Dartmouth Ivy games were all decided by one run (or less in the case of the tie).
The Overall Record vs. Cornell
• Dartmouth has squared off against the Big Red 180 times, owning a 96-83-1 record.
• The Big Green have won 24 of the past 36 meetings dating back to the 2002 season, which includes both showdowns in the Ivy League Championship Series in 2009 and 2012. Both went three games with Dartmouth winning in 2009 and the Big Red emerging victorious in 2012 on an extra-inning, walk-off home run.
• Cornell is 36-35 at David Hoy Field against Dartmouth since the park opened on April 22, 1922, and 6-7 since FieldTurf was added before the 2007 campaign.
• Dartmouth head coach Bob Whalen has a 37-25 mark in games against Cornell.
• The first games in the series took place on April 10-11, 1906, with Cornell winning both games.
Scouting the Big Red
• Cornell opened the season with series against Texas A&M, Duke and Fordham, going 1-8 against that daunting trio. Before tying Binghamton on Tuesday, the Big Red had lost five of six with all five losses coming in conference play.
• Although the team batting average is just .224, lowest in the league, Cornell has still managed to average 4.65 runs per game, which ranks sixth.
• Kyle Gallagher has been the team’s best hitter by a wide margin with his .329/.500/.443 line, including a league-best 24 walks.
• The Big Red have hit just five home runs, a total that has been at least doubled by every other Ancient Eight squad.
• The pitchers are in the middle of the pack among Ivy teams with a 5.76 ERA.
• Look for Andrew Ellison (1-3, 2.35) and Colby Wyatt (0-1, 3.78, 2 saves) to make at least one appearance out of the bullpen during the series.
• The defense has been a bit suspect with the lowest fielding percentage (.955) and second-most errors (35) despite playing the fewest games. Opponents have also been successful on 30 of 35 stolen base attempts.
Last Time Against the Big Red
These two teams split a doubleheader in Hanover last year, with each side shutting out the other in their respective victories. Cornell won the first game, 2-0, behind the pitching of Tommy Morris and Peter Lannoo, who outdueled Beau Sulser to hand the 2017 Ivy League Pitcher of the Year his only defeat. A Will Simoneit homer in the fourth was all the runs the Big Red would need.
In the nightcap, Jack Fossand was masterful on the mound, throwing one-hit ball for seven innings while walking just two before Marc Bachman and Patrick Peterson each tossed a scoreless stanza to finish off the blanking. The bats, meanwhile, rapped out 11 hits, three each for Michael Ketchmark and Justin Fowler, as Dartmouth struck for three runs in the first and two more in the third to complete the scoring.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• Both teams are sticking with their rotations as the Big Green offer up junior RHP Cole O'Connor (3-3, 4.10) in the opener. Last week he went six-plus innings and allowed four runs despite a career-high four walks to pick up his third victory of the year. Cornell will counter with RHP Tim Willittes (2-3, 5.06) who owns his team’s lone league triumph, a 5-2 decision at Princeton.
• Game two will feature senior RHP Clay Chatham (1-2, 6.06), who is looking to rebound following his shortest start (2.2 IP) of the season last week. Toeing the slab for the Big Red will be RHP Seth Urbon (0-2, 6.19), who has walked just seven batters in 32.0 innings, but opponents are hitting .336 against him.
• To conclude the series, Dartmouth will turn to senior RHP Jack Fossand (1-3, 5.85) in hopes he can provide an encore to last year’s dominance of Cornell. Southpaw Tyler Fernandez (0-3, 8.66) is looking to get on track after averaging less than four innings in his first five starts of the year.
What’s Up Next
Dartmouth will continue its road swing with a non-conference tilt at Boston College on their new field at the Brighton Complex on Wednesday with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. Next weekend the Big Green have a big showdown at Yale, which is currently leading the Ivy League, with a doubleheader on Saturday and the series finale on Sunday.
Last Week in Review
• Dartmouth battled both UMass Lowell and snow on Tuesday, beating the latter but losing to the former, 12-8. The game featured two snow delays of 13 minutes each, 16 walks (11 by Big Green pitchers), eight errors, four hit batters, two passed balls and one wild pitch, and it lasted 3:21 without the delays.
• The Big Green played Columbia last weekend, winning the first two games. Matt Feinstein belted a 3-run homer in support of Cole O’Connor to lift Dartmouth to a 5-4 win in the opener. But it was Austen Michel who got the final nine outs to earn his third save of the season.
• The doubleheader ended up being played on Sunday on an overcast and cold day, but the bats were hot to start with a seven-run third inning, propelling Dartmouth to a 10-4 victory to clinch the series. Bennett McCaskill and Michael Calamari homered in the big inning, and Michael Parsons provided 5.2 scoreless innings of relief to beat the Lions.
• Columbia got its revenge in the finale, beating the Big Green, 12-3, thanks in part to a pair of three-run homers. The loss ended Dartmouth’s personal six-game winning streak against the Lions, its longest in the series in 20 years.
McCaskill McRookie of the Week
Easy McDonald’s reference, but hey, why not? Freshman Bennett McCaskill was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week for his performance in the series victory over Columbia the weekend of April 7-8. The son of former MLB pitcher Kirk McCaskill was 3-for-8 in the three games, including his first collegiate home run, which sparked a seven-run inning in the second game to help the Big Green clinch the series with a 10-4 win. In the 5-4 opening victory, the catcher went 2-for-3 with a run and a sacrifice bunt. So how did he celebrate the honor? Why, by belting a solo homer in his first at-bat against UMass Lowell, just minutes after the award was announced.
Outlook Not Bleak, It’s Blake
Blake Crossing has made the most of his recent opportunity in the lineup, first as the DH and now at second base in the place of injured Sean Sullivan. All the sophomore has done in his nine consecutive starts is hit safely in each game at a .485 clip (16-for-33), including a career-high four hits on Tuesday against UMass Lowell, while walking eight times to post an OBP of .595 in that span. While he doesn’t quite qualify for the national rankings yet, his .515 OBP for the season would rank 10th, even ahead of Sullivan who is 15th (and tied for the Ivy lead) at an even .500.
Sleigh Bells or Baseballs?
Twice during Dartmouth’s 12-8 loss to UMass Lowell at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park on April 10, the game was delayed for 13 minutes due to snow. Shortly before each delay, junior Steffen Torgersen drew a walk, his only bases on balls of the season. There may or may not be a correlation, but to be on the safe side, maybe everyone should just tell Torgersen to swing away. But the third baseman did score three runs in the game, tying the most by any Big Green player this season, so it wasn’t all bad.
Sophomore Michael Parsons should take his show on the road as well as he tames Lions. The southpaw shut down the Columbia offense, holding it scoreless for 5.2 innings on Sunday, to earn his first collegiate victory in the 10-4 win. It wasn’t his first act in the center ring having picked up his only collegiate save last year at Columbia by hurling four shutout stanzas, giving him an ERA of 0.00 in 9.2 career innings against the Ivy League rival.
Trailing 4-0 in the second game of the series against Columbia, the Dartmouth bats exploded for seven runs in the third inning. The scoring was bookended by freshman Bennett McCaskill’s first career home run and sophomore Michael Calamari’s two-run blast. It was the most runs in any inning for the Big Green since putting up eight runs in the eighth inning against Chicago on March 21 last year to beat the Maroons, 19-11. The last time they had seven against a Division I team was a seven-run eighth in a 22-10 win at Yale on April 11, 2015.
Tightening Up the D
Before Dartmouth’s first game back in the Northeast, the defense was having difficulty making plays in the field with 22 errors in the first 15 games for a fielding percentage of .960. But in the last eight, the team has shored up the defense, committing just five miscues (.983). And in the six Ivy League games, the Big Green have just two errors, leading the conference with a .991 percentage.
Long Ball Long Time Coming
Junior Matt Feinstein got the home run monkey off his back over the weekend, clouting his first collegiate four-bagger against Columbia on Saturday, and it couldn’t have come at a much better time. The center fielder cranked a three-run shot to cap a four-run second, which turned out to be the final Big Green runs in the 5-4 victory. The home run came in his 364th career plate appearance. And to top off his week, he added his 100th career hit with an RBI single against UMass Lowell on Tuesday.
But Feinstein wasn’t the only Dartmouth hitter to crank his first collegiate home run against Columbia. Freshman catcher Bennett McCaskill jump-started a seven-run third inning in the first game on Sunday by leading off the frame with a shot over the fence in left for his first round-tripper. It only took him 47 plate appearances to go yard ...
The Hits Keep Coming
Blake Crossing isn’t the only Big Green batter with a nine-game hit streak entering the weekend. Sophomore Michael Calamari has also hit safely in the last nine contests with an even .300 average in that span. While that is 185 points lower than Crossing, their slugging percentages are much closer thanks to Squid’s two doubles, triple and home run. The first baseman has also driven in seven runs during his streak, but needs to get a hit in each game this weekend to match Dustin Shirley for the longest streak of the season (12).
If anyone has a good suggestion for a play on words with sophomore Austen Michel’s name, feel free to chime in. The key word is ‘good.’ The right-hander entered the series opener against Columbia with a 5-3 lead in the seventh with the tying runs on base and nobody out. While one runner scored, Michel left the tying run stranded at third, then proceeded to retire the side in order in the eighth and ninth to earn his third save of the season and preserve the 5-4 victory, fanning four in his three-inning stint. In three appearances in Ivy League games, he has struck out 11 in just 7.1 innings.