HANOVER, N.H. — Dartmouth senior Dustin Shirley was named the Ivy League Player of the Year by the league’s coaches today and was one of six Big Green players to earn all-conference honors. He is the fourth Dartmouth player to earn the award since it was first given out in 1993.
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Shirley was the lone member of the Big Green to earn a spot on the All-Ivy League First Team in the outfield — after playing second base during his first three seasons — in addition to his honor as the conference’s top player. The senior co-captain hit .314/.365/.497 while leading the league in doubles (14), ranking third in slugging percentage and fourth in RBIs (32). His 50 hits, five home runs, 79 total bases and seven stolen bases also topped the Dartmouth squad. Against Ivy pitchers, Shirley hit .310/.371/.536 with a league-best 10 doubles, three home runs and 20 RBIs.
Shirley played his best baseball of the season down the stretch, hitting .450 (18-for-40) over the final three conference series with six doubles and three homers for a slugging percentage of .825, scoring 11 runs and driving in 14 as Dartmouth fell just short of qualifying for the Ivy League Championship Series. An Academic All-District I selection and candidate for the Senior CLASS Award, Shirley completed his career having played in the fourth-most games in program history (162) while posting a .280 average, 31 doubles, nine triples, six home runs, 82 runs and 84 RBIs, plus set a school record with 15 sacrifice flies.
A pair of Big Green pitchers were named to the second team in senior Jack Fossand and sophomore Austen Michel. Fossand, a native of Woodbury, Minnesota, started 11 games on the mound with one relief appearance, posting a 4-4 record with a 4.41 ERA over 65.1 innings while striking out a team-high 51 batters. The 6-5 right-hander had quality starts in five of his seven assignments in conference play, going 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA and 40 strikeouts while walking just 11 in 46.0 innings of work. His 11 punchouts at Penn were the most by any Dartmouth pitcher in the past two seasons, and his final victory of the year came against Princeton when he shut out the Tigers for 7.2 frames on four hits with eight whiffs.
Michel was the relief ace for the Big Green and led the Ivy League with seven saves, six in Ivy League games. For the season, the product of South Hamilton, Massachusetts, had a 3-2 record and a team-best 3.38 ERA (sixth in the league) over 15 relief appearances and two starts, striking out 35 while walking only seven to rank 25th nationally in fewest walks issued per nine innings (1.39). He was even better against the Ancient Eight teams with a 2-1 record, six saves and a 2.73 ERA, fanning 24 and walking three in 29.2 innings. His most impressive outing came in a 2-1, 13-inning victory over Brown in which he hurled seven scoreless stanzas while yielding just one hit to pick up the win.
The three honorable mentions for Dartmouth went to a trio of juniors in pitcher Cole O’Connor, shortstop Nate Ostmo and outfielder Matt Feinstein. O’Connor (Bedford, Massachusetts) led the Big Green with five victories against four defeats to go with a 4.50 ERA over 70.0 innings, the most by a Dartmouth pitcher in 18 years. Ostmo (Portland, Oregon) hit .262/.337/.407 with five doubles, four homers, 24 runs and 17 RBIs for the season, plus fielded .972 with three errors in 108 chances during league play. Finally, Feinstein (Old Brookville, New York) recorded a slash line of .271/.352/.347 with seven doubles, two home runs, 21 runs and 19 RBIs while patrolling center field.
The other top honors went to Harvard senior Noah Zavolas as the Pitcher of the Year, Penn freshman Eduardo Malinowski as the Rookie of the Year and Columbia head coach Brett Boretti as the Coach of the Year.
Dartmouth finished the season with a 17-22-1 record and 12-8-1 mark in league play to finish third in the Ivy standings. This was the 11th straight year that the Big Green posted a winning record in conference play, matching the longest stretch by any Ivy League team ever (also Dartmouth from 1962-72).
Notes: The other three Dartmouth players to be named Player of the Year are Brian Nickerson (2000), Ed Lucas (2004) and Nick Santomauro (2009) … the Big Green have had at least one player named first-team all-conference in 28 of head coach Bob Whalen’s 29 years at the helm. The only year without one was in 2010, a year in which Dartmouth won the Ivy League crown … since all-conference teams were first named in 1960 (under the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League), Dartmouth has had 107 first-team selections, more than any other school.