The Numbers Game: 0.556 — Thomas Roulis '15's batting average over the past week
Each week The Numbers Game will break-down one Dartmouth sports statistic.
This week’s number: .556 — Thomas Roulis ’15’s batting average over the past week to force a playoff game.
Going into the 2016 season, the biggest question facing the Dartmouth baseball team was how they were going to replace the production left in their lineup by the recently graduated Nick Lombardi ’15 and Matt Parisi ’15. Losing these two main cogs in the lineup had many wondering whether head coach Bob Whalen and his bunch would even contend for their ninth Rolfe Division title in as many years.
Early on in the season, however, it became clear that co-captain Roulis, who missed all of the 2015 season due to injury, would help at least partially fill this void. The sure-handed middle infielder seamlessly reintegrated into the Dartmouth lineup, providing the team with a sense of grittiness and speed in the middle of the order that the team missed last year.
Roulis’ impact on the Big Green offense reached a climax last week as he reached base in all six games. To begin his hot week, the New Hyde Park, New York native collected two hits and drove in a run in a 5-3 victory against Siena College. Then, in the most important regular season series of the year against Harvard University, Roulis spearheaded the Dartmouth offense by collecting eight hits while also making no errors in 24 fielding chances.
For the week as a whole Roulis, who was earned All-Ivy League honorable mention honors during his 2014 campaign, collected 10 total hits in 18 official plate appearances — translating to an eye-popping .556 average. In large part due to Roulis’ flawless play, Dartmouth was able to take three of four games against Harvard and consequently force a one-game playoff against Yale University to determine the 2016 Rolfe Division champion.
If we look closer at Roulis’ impact on the series against Harvard it becomes clear that he flourished in when his team needed him most. In the first game of the series Roulis gave the Big Green some much needed breathing room when he singled up the middle in the sixth inning to knock in two runs and give Dartmouth a 3-0 advantage. Although Roulis did not drive in any runs in Game 2, he managed to collect two hits in four plate appearances and consistently applied pressure to the Harvard pitching staff en route to a 2-1 Dartmouth win. After the series shifted to Hanover, Dartmouth dropped the third game by a score 3-1. Then in essentially a must win game, Roulis came up big again delivering three hits, including a double, and scored the insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Big Green went on to win the last game 3-1 to take home the series win.
In the one-game playoff against Yale on Saturday afternoon, the Big Green dropped a heartbreaking game in New Haven, Connecticut by a final score of 5-4. Even in this loss, Roulis did everything in his power to will Dartmouth to a win by reaching base twice and driving in a run, but it simply was not enough as Yale took home the 2016 Rolfe Division title. The Bulldogs will face Princeton University, who won the Lou Gehrig Division, next weekend in the best-of-three Ivy League Championship Series.
Even though his team did not reach the goals that they set out for themselves to begin the season, Roulis has to be proud of his 2016 campaign. It is not often that you see a player miss an entire season and come back arguably an even better player. This is a testament to the work Roulis put in while he was injured as well as an indication of the tremendous natural talent that he possesses.