HANOVER, N.H. — The Dartmouth bats exploded for 30 runs in a doubleheader sweep of Princeton on Saturday afternoon at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park as the Big Green (14-20-1, 10-6-1 Ivy) won a pair of blowouts, 14-3 and 16-1. Seniors Dustin Shirley and Kyle Holbrook each drove in seven runs on the day, making Senior Day quite the festive affair.
The Tigers have now lost nine straight games, eight in conference play, to fall to 10-26 overall and 7-13 in the Ivy League.
No player on the current Dartmouth roster had ever had more than three RBIs in a game, yet three different Big Green hitters pulled off the feat on Saturday. Shirley drove in five runs in the opener to lead the charge while going 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run. Sophomore Michael Calamari got in on the act early in game two, smacking a two-run homer and two-run double in his first two at-bats to give him four RBIs. Finally, Holbrook, who contributed a sacrifice fly in the opener, drove in six runs in his final three at-bats of the nightcap with a pair of RBI singles before capping the day with his first career grand slam in the eighth.
The day wasn’t all about the offense, however. Big Green junior Cole O’Connor (5-4) took a five-hit shutout into the seventh inning — thanks in part to three double plays behind him in the first three frames — of the opener as Dartmouth built up a 13-0 advantage. Senior Jack Fossand (4-3) was even more dominant in the next contest, pitching 7.2 innings of scoreless ball while yielding just four hits and a walk to go with eight strikeouts.
It was Shirley who got the bats going early with a leadoff double in the second as he eventually scored on a Calamari sacrifice fly. Junior Steffen Torgersen started the third in similar fashion with a two-bagger, igniting a two-run rally with the help of a pair of Princeton miscues and a double steal of home.
Another leadoff double in the fifth, this time off the bat of freshman Bennett McCaskill, led to three more Big Green runs, culminating with Shirley’s two-run shot to left, his fourth of the year. That ended the day for Tiger hurler Ben Gross (4-5), who surrendered six runs (five earned) in five complete innings on six hits and a walk while fanning four.
McCaskill launched a two-run shot in the sixth, his third of the year, against the reliever before Dartmouth loaded the bases for Shirley on a pair of walks and a hit batter. The senior came through again, lining a pitch just inside the foul line in left for a three-run double. Junior Nate Ostmo singled home another run and Torgersen finished the seven-run stanza with an RBI grounder to first.
That long inning seemed to take something out of O’Connor, who allowed four of first five batters to reach base in the seventh. With the shutout lost, senior Mike Concato was summoned from the bullpen, surrendering a two-run single before recording the third out.
Torgersen had a two-out single in the eighth, driving home the final run in the form of sophomore Blake Crossing, who had hit the Big Green’s fourth leadoff double of the game.
Concato worked a scoreless eighth and ninth with the game ending fittingly on a double play, the season-high fourth for the defense.
Game two got out of hand early as well with Calamari’s two-run bomb off of Leverone Field House in the second and his two-run double capping a four-run third for a 6-0 Dartmouth lead. Tiger starter Ryan Smith (1-5) lasted four innings having allowed those six runs on five hits and four walks to go with four strikeouts.
Junior Matt Feinstein and Holbrook produced RBI singles in the sixth, then the Green added three more runs in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by junior Sean Sullivan and RBI singles from Holbrook and Shirley.
Fossand, meanwhile, rarely was in trouble as Princeton only had a runner advance to second three times while he was on the mound. But after retiring the first two batters in the eighth, he tired, issuing his only walk and allowing a base hit, ending his day after throwing 101 pitches. Senior Marc Bachman came on and got a strikeout, but a wild pitch allowed the batter to reach, loading the bases. It turned out not to matter as he got a grounder to third to end the inning unscathed.
Dartmouth loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth before freshman Logan Adams hit a pinch-hit, RBI single and Holbrook hit his fourth homer of the year into the netting above the right-field fence for his fourth home run of the season and first grand slam by a Big Green hitter in four years.
Princeton spoiled the shutout in the ninth on a two-out, RBI single by leadoff hitter Chris Davis.
The final game of the series is set for Sunday at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park at noon. The game will be broadcast 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 Bruce Wood calling the action.
Notes: Dartmouth had scored 29 runs in its previous nine games … the last Big Green player to hit a grand slam was Jeff Keller against Harvard on April 29, 2014 … the 16 runs in the second game were the most for Dartmouth against a Division I opponent since putting 22 on the board against Yale on April 11, 2015 … the 30 runs were the most in a two-game span for the Big Green since tallying 33 against UMBC in March of 2011 … the last time Dartmouth scored 30 runs in a doubleheader was nine years ago against Yale (13-2 and 17-8 victories) … the Big Green have won three straight games for the first time in over a year … Dartmouth was 6-for-10 as a team with the bases loaded in the doubleheader after having gone 4-for-38 (.105) in the first 33 games.