Baseball gets pair of one-run wins including walkoff vs. Holy Cross

by Gayne Kalustian | 4/9/14 3:56pm

by Josh Renaud / The Dartmouth

The Big Green baseball team’s offense began to show signs of life this week in non-league, midweek victories. The wins follow a slow season opening in which Dartmouth struggled to display the strength with which it trampled the Red Rolfe Division last season.

Dartmouth (7-16, 2-6 Ivy) defeated the College of the Holy Cross (10-19, 3-3 Patriot League) 8-7 on Wednesday with a late-game rally, one day after taking down Boston College (10-22, 2-13 ACC) in a 2-1 victory. The Tuesday win was aided by an exceptional outing by Chris England ’15, who allowed one run on four hits in six innings.

The team started off the game against the Eagles with two runs in the top of the first inning, when Joe Purritano ’16 batted in Thomas Roulis ’15 and co-captain Jeff Keller ’14 to give the Big Green an early lead. The team would go on to allow just one run on just six hits over nine frames, pitched by England, Adam Frank ’15 and Chris Burkholder ’17.

“[England] pitched great,” Keller said. “He threw strikes, competed well and pitched with confidence. Our pitching is a little thin, and we had two midweek games and a lot of guys injured.”

Though the team stranded eight Eagles through the game, Dartmouth left nine of its own men on base, three of which came in the seventh, when the Big Green loaded the bases but could not bring the men home.

“We did the same thing yesterday and today,” Keller said. “We scored first and didn’t come up with the hits later in the game. We’ll have some good innings and go silent for a while and that’s how you lose momentum.”

Upon its return to Hanover, Dartmouth jumped to an early lead against the Crusaders, putting up four runs in the first, cycling through the length of the Big Green order before Holy Cross could get out of the inning.

The Crusaders started to chip away at Dartmouth’s lead, tying the game at four in the sixth. The team, Dustin Selzer ’14 said, will have to learn to better navigate lulls in at bats instead of resting on early runs.

“It’s going to be a combination of just executing from top to bottom, from Jeff to whoever is doing the film that day,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the best player or not playing much, you need to buy into the fact that it’s about the team and bringing everyone together and staying with it every single inning.”

As the game entered the ninth, the Crusaders capitalized on wildness on the mound from Duncan Robinson ’16 and Frank that grew its lead to 7-4.

Down by three, the Big Green came out firing in the bottom of the ninth, kicked off by Roulis who started the inning with a single, barely beating the throw to first in a dead sprint. He was followed immediately by Keller and Selzer, who walked to load the bases. The Crusaders’ inconsistency continued as Purritano then walked to drive in a run, cutting the deficit to two.

The stage was set for veteran third-baseman Lombardi, who slammed a double deep into right-center, bringing home two more base runners to tie the game at seven. With one out and after catcher Matt MacDowell ’15 was intentionally walked, shortstop Matt Parisi ’15 came up to bat. Parisi, with an 0-2 count, smashed a walk-off drive deep into left, meeting his team in celebration at the center of the diamond.

“It was great,” Parisi said. “We’ve been waiting on that big hit and that big situation all year, and today it felt like it was bound to happen.”

When the Dartmouth baseball team took the diamond in Ithaca, N.Y., to start off the Ivy League season two weeks ago, hopes and expectations for the six-time Red Rolfe Division defending champions were high. With the first half of League play completed, Dartmouth’s surprising record puts it three games back from the division-leading Yale University Bulldogs, who it will take on at home in back-to-back doubleheaders this weekend.

The team resumes Ivy play this weekend in Hanover when it hosts the Bulldogs. The games will help determine who will take the Rolfe Division title and venture forward to the Ivy Championships. Yale, who is coming off of two losses at the hands of Fairfield University, was beaten by Holy Cross in three of four games in late March.

The team is using these weekday games as a launching point to take on and defeat the Bulldogs, Selzer said.

“Tomorrow is going to be a heavy work day,” he said. “We will work on things we need to work on and keep doing things well that we need to do well. We’re feeling very confident because we control our own way from here on.”