|Notes | Stats | Twitter||Notes | Stats | Twitter|
|April 29 (Game 1) • 1 p.m.
Video: ILDN | Live Stats
|RHP (6-2, 2.77)||RHP Ian Miller (3-4, 5.07)|
|April 29 (Game 2) • ~3:30 p.m.
Video: ILDN | Live Stats
|RHP Cole O'Connor (4-2, 4.61)||RHP Nick Zavolas (2-6, 5.88)|
|April 30 (Game 1) • 1 p.m.
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|RHP (5-1, 1.66)||RHP Simon Rosenblum-Larson (3-3, 4.50)|
|April 30 (Game 2) • ~3:30 p.m.
Video: ILDN | Live Stats
Season Coming to a Close
It has been 10 years since Dartmouth didn't play at least one postseason game, but the Big Green will be hard pressed to keep that streak from ending. Trailing Yale by four games with four to play, Dartmouth has to win all four games against Harvard and hope Brown can sweep the Bulldogs to force a one-game playoff against the Elis.
And without the aforementioned double sweep, or Mother Nature causing the postponement of at least one of these games until Monday, this will be the first year that the Big Green will not have played a game during the month of May since at least the 1880s.
The Overall Record vs. Harvard
• By the end of this series, Dartmouth will have played the Crimson more than any other opponent. The Big Green won three of the four games last year and have taken 24 of the last 26, but Harvard still holds a 130-124 lead.
• Five times Dartmouth has swept Harvard in a four-game series since the format changed in 1993. Since 2000, only once have the Big Green not at least split with the Crimson, that coming in 2005.
• Since 1923, Dartmouth is 55-37 (.598) when hosting Harvard, including a 13-3 mark at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park.
• Harvard has been playing at the site of O'Donnell Field since 1898, beating Dartmouth in the inaugural game, 13-7. Since 1923, the Big Green are 46-53 (.454) at the site.
Scouting the Crimson
• Harvard started the season well enough at 10-8, but quickly fell behind in the Rolfe Division with 10 losses in its first 11 league games. But the Crimson are playing better of late, winning five of their last seven overall and four of five in Ivy play.
• The offense has performed well, averaging nearly six runs per game while swatting 31 homers to tie for the league lead. But the bats can be contact-challenged at times, striking out once every four at-bats.
• Designated hitter Patrick Robinson has been a formidable presence at the plate, leading the league in slugging (.772) and homers (9) while ranking second in average (.395) and third in RBIs (34).
• First baseman Patrick McColl (.358/.474/.615) gives Harvard a great one-two punch in the middle of the order.
• The Crimson have utilized essentially the same starting four at the top of the rotation, each one posting an ERA between 4.50 and 5.88.
• The bullpen has lacked a true closer with three pitchers amassing all of four saves, though Grant Stone has been the most reliable reliever with a 5.06 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 26.2 innings.
• Defensively, the .968 fielding percentage sits in the middle of the league while turning an Ivy-best 31 double plays and throwing out 35.4 percent of would-be base stealers.
Last Year Against Harvard
Needing wins to keep pace with Yale in the standings, Dartmouth claimed three of the four games against the Crimson to finish the season tied with the Bulldogs to force a one-game playoff.
The series started in Cambridge with Duncan Robinson outdueling Nick Gruener in a 3-1 Big Green victory. Dartmouth manufactured a run in the first, then pushed across a pair of insurance runs on a Thomas Roulis two-run single. The lone Harvard run scored on a solo homer with Robinson just one out short of a complete-game shutout.
The second game was even tighter as the Green prevailed, 2-1. Beau Sulser twirled seven-plus innings of one-run ball, and Chris Burkholder slammed the door with two scoreless stanzas. Joe Purritano and Dustin Shirley each had RBI singles to provide the offense.
Weather forced the delay of the final games, and Dartmouth knew it had to split the twinbill to tie Yale or sweep to win the division outright. Harvard foiled those plans by ending its 15-game losing streak against the Big Green to start the day, 3-1. The lone Dartmouth run came in the bottom of the seventh on a Ben Socher single, but the tying runs were left stranded as Kevin Stone went the distance for the Crimson.
The Big Green rebounded to turn the tables and win the final game, 3-1, forcing that one-game playoff. Roulis had three of Dartmouth's seven hits, and Cole O'Connor, Marc Bachman and Patrick Peterson combined to hold Harvard to the one run on six hits.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• First up for Dartmouth will be senior RHP Michael Danielak (6-2, 2.77), coming off his worst start of the season at Yale, though he is still fifth in the league in ERA. He will be matched up against RHP Ian Miller (3-4, 5.07), whose ERA is bloated due to one bad start, also against Yale.
• Lined up for game two is sophomore RHP Cole O'Connor (4-2, 4.61), who has surrendered more than three earned runs in just two of his 16 career starts. Harvard will send RHP Noah Zavolas (2-6, 5.88) to the mound who has walked about one batter every four innings but allowed opponents to hit .332 against him.
• Senior RHP Beau Sulser (5-1, 1.66) brings his league-leading ERA to Cambridge on Sunday for the third game. He has won five of his six starts with the lone loss a 2-0 setback. The Crimson has RHP Simon Rosenblum-Larson (3-3, 4.50) at the ready, having allowed just 12 hits in his last three starts that span 17.2 innings.
• Though no one has been announced officially for the Big Green in the final game, I'm guessing freshman RHP Austen Michel (0-1, 4.37) and his 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings will get the call. The Crimson could go with RHP Kevin Stone (4-2, 5.19), one year after defeating Dartmouth in a one-run, seven-inning complete-game effort.
What's Up Next
As stated at the start of these notes, absolutely nothing without sweeps by the Big Green and Brown. Should that happen, however, Dartmouth would play Yale in a one-game playoff for the third time in four years, and second straight year in New Haven. The winner of that game would advance to the Ivy League Championship Series.
Last Week in Review
• It was a rough one for Dartmouth, dropping three of four at Yale before having to rally for five runs in the last two innings to earn a tie at Siena on Wednesday.
• What was a pitchers' duel quickly turned into a lopsided 8-0 Yale victory in the first game of the weekend. The first five runs (four unearned) all scored with two outs in the fourth, and the Bulldog pitcher twirled a five-hit shutout while striking out just a single batter.
• Game two began poorly and never got much better as Yale prevailed, 11-3, by banging out 17 hits, the most against the Dartmouth staff all season.
• The Big Green briefly righted the ship behind Beau Sulser who shook off a pair of first-inning runs to go the distance and strike out eight in a 7-2 win. Trevor Johnson drove in three runs and Adam Gauthier two with two doubles.
• The final game was decided in two Bulldog at-bats, both with the bases loaded, both with the same batter at the plate who delivered a grand slam and a bases-clearing double to defeat Dartmouth, 6-1. Michael Ketchmark provided the lone run with a solo blast.
• With just 10 position players available at Siena, the Big Green fell behind 8-4 after seven innings, but put up two runs in the eighth and three more in the ninth while the Saints managed just one in the eighth. After 10 innings, the game was called due to darkness with the score 9-9, making it the first tie for Dartmouth in 10 years.
With the final home games of the season scheduled for Saturday, Dartmouth will take a few moments between games of the doubleheader to celebrate the accomplishments of the eight active seniors on the squad — Jackson Bubala, Chris Burkholder, Michael Danielak, Adam Gauthier, Michael Ketchmark, John Melody, Ben Socher and Beau Sulser. Entering the weekend, this octet has helped the Big Green win 77 games — six against ranked opponents — and two Rolfe Division titles over the past four years.
Kissing Your Sister
That's what the general consensus is in baseball when it comes to ties, and that's what Dartmouth got at Siena in the final non-conference game of the season. But it wasn't all bad; the Big Green had lost every game when trailing after six innings this year. With five runs in the last two innings to knot the score at nine, Dartmouth did not lose this one. But it was sloppy with four errors in the field, the third such game this season and second in the last five contests. For head coach Bob Whalen, it was just the second tie game on his ledger in 28 years at the Dartmouth helm.
Fowler's Big Day
Not only was junior Justin Fowler making his first start of the season at shortstop at Siena (one of four players making their first start at a new position — Dustin Shirley, 3B; Mike Brown, CF; Sean Sullivan, 2B), he also launched his first home run of the season and drove in a career-high three RBIs to help the Big Green salvage a 9-9 tie.
Ketchmark Ending Career Strong
Over his last 11 games, first baseman Michael Ketchmark has been on a tear, hitting .419 (18-for-43) with four doubles, two homers, 12 runs and eight RBIs. Four times he has collected three hits in a game in that span, and for the season, the senior captain leads the Big Green in eight offensive categories — average (.346), runs (29), hits (46), doubles (11), home runs (5), total bases (74), on-base percentage (.422) and slugging percentage (.556).
When Dartmouth plays a game, you can be almost certain that Kyle Holbrook will get on base at least once. The junior has started every game this season and reached base in all but two of those contests, at one point doing so in 23 straight games. The last Big Green player with a longer streak was Jim Wren '10 (27) eight years ago. Holbrook has hit safely in 29 of the 36 contests, only once being held hitless in back-to-back games.
Sulser Sizzles Again
Although he did not add a third Ivy League Pitcher of the Week award to his mantel for his performance against Yale, he pitched well enough to earn his fifth win in a 7-2 victory over the Bulldogs. The senior completed the seven-inning contest with eight strikeouts, and while his ERA rose to 1.66, he still leads the Ivy League in that category as well as WHIP (0.89) and K-BB ratio (8.8), the last of which ranks seventh nationally.
Shirley You Can't Be Patient
It seems that junior Dustin Shirley has turned over a new leaf at the plate. In the first 108 games of his career with the Big Green, he had drawn 15 walks, which was once every 25.3 at-bats. But over his last 11 games, he has earned a free pass nine times, once every 4.3 at-bats. Not surprisingly, Shirley has hit .359 in those 11 games to go with a .500 on-base percentage.
For whatever reason, Dartmouth pitchers have had the most difficult time with the very first inning this season. Big Green opponents have scored 40 runs in their first at-bats, 15 more than any other inning. The staff ERA for the first inning is 7.00, by far the worst of any inning this year, with the next closest being the eighth at 5.46. In the last four games, the opposition has posted 10 runs in the initial frame. The best two innings happen to be the seventh (1.56) and the sixth (2.75).