The Big Green Weekend Primer
It’s championship season for the Big Green. Last week saw the softball team repeat as Ivy League champions, and this week their counterparts on the baseball team will look to capture their first title since 2010. On the courts, the women’s tennis team will head down for a first round matchup in the NCAA tournament. This weekend promises to have some exciting Big Green action as teams look to add to the trophy case and perform on a national stage.
Baseball Ivy League Championship Series at Columbia University
(Saturday at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m. if necessary)
Another season, another Red Rolfe Division Championship for the Big Green. While the team’s 14-game win streak came to an end in the final season game against Amherst College, the long run of victories catapulted the team to its eighth consecutive division crown. Dartmouth, however, still needs to overcome one last hurdle to take home the program’s 12th conference title in its 142-year history. This weekend, the Big Green collide with the Lions in New York in the third consecutive meeting between the two in the series. Columbia has swept both meetings in two games.
The two teams have been neck and neck this season, both finishing with identical 16-4 league records and splitting the two games they played against each other in March. Columbia qualified for the series thanks to a 4-2 victory over the University of Pennsylvania last weekend in a one-game playoff for the top spot in the Lou Gehrig Division.
The Lions are led at the plate by designated hitter Joey Falcone, who leads his team with a .340 batting average, leads the Ivy League with 43 RBI on the season and sits second in the league with nine home runs. Falcone has led the highest scoring offense in the league, and the Lions sit atop the Ancient Eight in almost every offensive category. The Columbia pitching staff is nearly as stout, tallying the second lowest ERA and second highest strikeout rate in the league this year.
When the two met earlier this season in the first weekend of Ivy play, starter Mike Concato ’17 pitched a complete game in a 5-4 victory before the Big Green fell 4-1 in the second half of the double-header. While both teams have come into form over the last six weeks, Concato will be a critical piece of the series for the Big Green, which has relied on big innings from the sophomore all season.
Last year in the championship series the Big Green was able to muster only three runs over the two games, which will not be enough to unseat the two-time defending champs. While Columbia promises to be the toughest challenge the Big Green has faced in weeks, with their recent momentum and an extra week of rest, Dartmouth sits in its best position in recent years to capture another elusive Ivy League title.
PREDICTION: Dartmouth wins the Series 2 games to 1
Women’s Tennis at the College of William & Mary
(Saturday at 9 a.m.)
After a successful season that saw the team finish second in the Ivy League and attain its highest national ranking in College history, the No. 31 Big Green received an invitation to the NCAA tournament that kicks off this weekend. In their first round matchup, Dartmouth will face No. 49 William & Mary.
Although the two teams did not match up this season, they both played Brown and Yale Universities with William & Mary beating the Bears and falling to the Bulldogs and Dartmouth coming away victorious against both teams. The Tribe received their invitation to the tournament after cruising through the Colonial Athletic Association tournament as the top seed and winning all three of its matches 4-0.
The Big Green has also been on a bit of a run recently, winning its last four matches of the season. Taylor Ng ’17 anchored the Big Green at number one singles and doubles, earning Ivy League Player of the Year accolades in addition to being named first team All-Ivy in both singles and doubles. She is also the first Big Green player ever to qualify for the NCAA singles tournament which will take place later in May.
Despite running into a hot opponent, Dartmouth’s strong results all season should serve the Big Green well and give the team a solid victory in the NCAA tournament.
PREDICTION: Dartmouth 4 – William & Mary 3