Baseball steals one game from Red Rolfe champs
Coming off of a Red Rolfe title and a heartbreaking loss to Princeton in the Ivy Championships last year, the Dartmouth baseball team had large shoes to fill. The loss of key starting pitchers and offensive dynamos added to the uncertain 2005 season for the Big Green. Despite endorsement by "Baseball America" for the Ivy title this year, the Big Green failed to meet the high expectations for the season, ending league play with three losses to Harvard in four games. Harvard (24-14, 15-5) swept the doubleheader on Sunday with two one-run wins of 9-8 and 11-10 against the Big Green (13-20, 8-12 Ivy). Dartmouth managed to pick up a win against the champions of the Red Rolfe title in the second game of the doubleheader on Monday. The Crimson won the first game 10-6 before surrendering the nightcap 8-5.
In both games of Sunday's doubleheader in Cambridge, Dartmouth held the lead through the late innings of the game, only to lose both games by only one run. Dartmouth took the early lead in the first game with three runs in the first two innings. In the bottom of the second, Dartmouth starter Josh Faiola '06 gave up a three run homer to even out the score. Dartmouth took back the lead with three runs in the third as Marty Hebert '05 drove in Brian Zurhellen '05 and an errant throw allowed Josh Bailey '05 to score and Hebert to advance. Hebert reached home on a groundout by Erik Bell '08, giving Dartmouth the 6-3 advantage. Dartmouth added another run in the fifth, but Harvard staged a comeback in the bottom of the fifth inning with six runs over six hits to take the 9-7 lead. Bailey drove Zurhellen home in the seventh, but the seven-inning game lasted just long enough for the Big Green to come up short.
Faiola took the complete game loss, allowing eight earned runs on 12 hits.
Dartmouth also took an early lead in the second game, plating five on five hits in the first inning. By the second inning Dartmouth had coasted to a 7-1 lead.
Harvard chipped away at the Big Green lead, trailing 7-6 at the end of the fourth inning. A two run homer by the Crimson gave Harvard an 8-7 lead, taking advantage of the silenced Dartmouth bats.
In the eighth, a double and triple by Will Bashelor '07 and Zurhellen plated the tying run and a wild pitch allowed Zurhellen to cross with a go-ahead run.
Harvard came back to tie the game against Nick Peay '05 in the bottom of the eighth. In the ninth, Dartmouth added another run by taking advantage of defensive miscues. Harvard managed to come back in the bottom of the ninth to win the game 11-10.
Peay received the loss, though starter Stephen Perry '07 allowed nine runs on 13 hits in the first seven innings of the game.
Sunday's losses at Harvard stung the Big Green. "It feels like the whole league season has been like that -- in close games and we just end up a little short at the end of the game." Zurhellen recalled. "Those losses are much more emotionally and physically taxing than getting blown out."
In game one of Monday's doubleheader at Red Rolfe field, Harvard took an early lead of 2-0 before surrendering three unearned runs in the fourth inning. Jeff Speights '05 drove in the first run of the game and scored on a home run by Damon Wright '08. Harvard came back in the fifth to tie the game and then broke open the game with a five-run sixth inning to make the score 10-3. The Big Green retaliated with three runs in the bottom of the inning, but were unable to close the deficit entirely. Speights provided much of the offense for the game, going 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs. Michael Madson '05 took the loss in relief.
Chase Carpenter '08 pitched another strong performance in the final Ivy game of the season. He pitched eight innings of work, striking out three and not giving up a base on balls. Peay took the mound for the final inning of the game and recorded his third save on the season with a perfect ninth inning.
Harvard picked up two runs in the first inning, but left three men on base after some crafty defensive work by Hebert and Zurhellen. Speights drove in Dartmouth's first run with an RBI single in the bottom of the first, but Harvard came back with three runs in the second. With the score 5-1 in the Crimson's favor, Carpenter caught on fire. In his last six innings of work, he only allowed five hits.
The Big Green tied the game in the third and took the lead in the fourth as Bashelor drove in the game winner with an RBI single. Josh Bailey '05 went 3-for-5 and Speights drove in three runs. Bashelor continued his running spree with his 28th and 29th stolen bases on the season. Speights finished off the game with 131 career RBIs, which puts him in fifth place in Dartmouth baseball history. The series did not play out the way the Big Green seniors hoped it would. "Well, it was nice to beat Harvard for the last home game of my career," Speights acknowledged, "Obviously we wanted to spoil their season with a good final series, but we fell just short."
In a season where luck just didn't seem to fall in line, Bailey expressed his hope for next year's team. "I hope the guys returning can use this year as a learning experience and make sure the same mistakes don't happen again," Bailey noted. "They have a lot to look forward to and I'm confident they will have a great team."
Speights echoed Bailey's sentiments, saying, "With the group of returning players we have for next year I don't expect a repeat of this season at all for next year."