Big Green looks to tame Tigers at home for Ivy title

by Kiran Talluri | 5/7/04 5:00am

In their final tune-up before the Princeton Tigers come to town for the Ivy League Championship, the Dartmouth (25-15, 15-5 Ivy) baseball team ended the 2004 regular season schedule with a losing 11-3 effort against the Boston College Eagles on Wednesday.

The usually prolific Big Green offense was shut down by a solid Boston College (22-21) pitching staff. Dartmouth counted two hits in the first six innings and scored three runs on seven total hits in the entire outing.

Dartmouth starter Bobby Steinsdoerfer '07 ran into trouble in the 3rd inning when the Eagles scored two runs. BC would crack the game open in the fifth; behind a grand slam by Josh Discipio to push the Eagle's lead to 7-0.

Dartmouth created some offense in the bottom of the seventh inning, after three additional runs by BC. Pat Nailer '04 hit an RBI double and Chris Grimm '05 added a sacrifice fly out as Dartmouth managed to put two runs on the board. John Huelskamp '06 hit an RBI double in the ninth to account for the final run.

With the end of regular season, the Red Rolfe Division champion Dartmouth baseball team is set to host Lou Gehrig Division champ Princeton (25-18, 12-8 Ivy) at Red Rolfe Field this weekend for the Ivy Championship.

Dartmouth has come this far behind a record-breaking offense, a stingy pitching staff and a group of talented rookies. The Big Green hitters broke records for runs, RBI, career hits, home runs and doubles in a season, and they have a cumulative average of .329. Eddie "Bo" Lucas '04 leads the team with a stellar .431 average and 69 hits. Scott Shirrel '04 set school records in career hits, runs, RBI and doubles while pacing the team with 47 runs scored this year. The current athlete of the week Jeff Speights '05 recently set the single season record with 52 RBI.

The Big Green's rotation has had an outstanding regular reason behind the work of Josh Faiola '06, Steve Perry '07 and captain Tim Grant, who combined for a 16-5 record and a dazzling 12-1 mark in Ivy League play. Grant was 4-1 with a .309 ERA and Faiola finished with a 3.49 ERA.

While the leadership of the Big Green upperclassman has been important to their success, the contributions of the first-year players has been invaluable. Will Bashelor '07 and Perry have been named both the Ivy League rookie and player of the week for the last two weeks.

For the Tigers, outfielder B.J. Szymanski leads the team with a .387 average, six home runs and 45 RBI. On the mound, the Tigers' top three starters all boast ERA under 4.00 for the year. Ross Ohlendorf is 5-3 with a 3.63 ERA, Gavin Fabian is 4-2 with a 3.36 ERA and Erik Stiller is 4-3 with a 3.61 ERA.

The Big Green and the Tigers split a doubleheader on April 3rd at Princeton. The Tigers claimed game one, 10-2, before Dartmouth turned on the juice in game two. Behind eight innings from Faiola and a game winning 5th inning bomb by the svelte Rancho Bernardo graduate, Speights, the Big Green did what they had to do to pull out a 5-2 win.

The last time Dartmouth claimed the Red Rolfe division was in 2001, but the coveted Ivy League champion trophy went to the Tigers in dramatic fashion. The Big Green battled for ten innings before finally succumbing to Princeton by a final score of 6-5.

For the current seniors, who were already big game contributors on the 2001 Red Rolfe champion team, Saturday's games represent the culmination of four years of college baseball. The winner of the contest will receive the bragging rights of the Ivy League champion as well as an automatic berth to the 2004 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament, a feat that Big Green baseball has not accomplished since 1987.

The teams face off in a best-of-three game series with the first-pitch of Saturday's doubleheader slated for noon and the third game, if necessary, to be played Sunday at 1 p.m.

Tickets for Saturday's contest are $5 for adults and $3 for children 14 and under. Sunday's matchups are $3 and $2, respectively.

College students are admitted free with ID.