Baseball falls 21-15 in longest game in Ivy League history

by Baily Deeter | 4/8/19 2:25am

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In an up-and-down, 21-inning game against Penn on Saturday, the Big Green ultimately fell 21-15.

by Michael Lin / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

The Dartmouth baseball team was scheduled to play 18 innings of baseball on Saturday in a doubleheader lined up against the University of Pennsylvania. They ended up playing 21, but not in the way they expected to. 

In the longest game in Ivy League baseball history, Dartmouth lost 21-15 in 21 innings to Penn. The Big Green battled the entire game, scoring three runs to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, three runs to tie the game in the bottom of the 13th and two runs in the final inning before ultimately falling short. With the loss, Dartmouth fell to 9-15 overall and 3-4 in Ivy League play. 

If there is one thing to remember from this game, it’s that it did not play out as expected. The game lasted almost six and a half hours and featured an NCAA-record 208 combined plate appearances, making it a long afternoon for spectators. 

“I was supposed to go to the dugout and get sandwiches at [2:00 p.m. when the first game ended],” said Cole Roland ’22, who was watching from the stands due to injury. “I think they’d probably be pretty moldy by now,” he said as the game wrapped up just before 6:00 p.m. 

All 21 innings were thrilling, but the latter 12 would not have been possible without Dartmouth scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and send it to extra innings. Ben Rice ’22 hit a home run before captain Matt Feinstein ’19 hit a game-tying two-run double. 

Penn scored three runs in the top of the 13th inning, yet the Big Green somehow responded by scoring three of its own in the bottom half of the inning. After that, the two teams were scoreless for the next seven innings, with Jonah Jenkins ’21 pitching five of those scoreless innings to keep the Big Green alive. 

“There’s no one tougher than our team,” Ubaldo Lopez ’21 said. “Our pitchers kept us in the game for all of extra innings, and when they fell behind, we picked them up.” 

However, in the 21st inning, Dartmouth ran out of gas. Nathan Skinner ’22, who had pitched two stellar scoreless innings before the 21st, surrendered eight runs as Penn took an insurmountable 21-13 lead. Dartmouth added two in the bottom half of the inning, but it was not enough. 

Skinner was slated to start the Sunday game, but head coach Bob Whalen decided to go all in once the game unexpectedly got so deep into extra innings. 

“We decided that we were going to push our chips to the middle of the table and do everything we could do win,” Whalen said. “You just can’t let a game like that get away.”  

Unfortunately, the game did get away eventually. 

“It was a strange day,” Whalen said. “That’s the nature of the game. It can be cruel sometimes.” 

With the loss, the Big Green slipped into a three-game losing streak.Earlier in the week, the team dropped its Wednesday contest against the College of the Holy Cross 16-10. After taking a 3-0 first-inning lead in that game, the Big Green gave up five runs in the bottom of the second and six more in the bottom of the fifth, building up an overwhelming deficit.

Losing both games was certainly disappointing, but offensively, the Big Green was excellent throughout the week and has been in its last few games. Dartmouth scored double-digit runs in both games and reached the nine-run mark for the fifth time in its last seven games, showing significant improvements from the spring break trip when it scored more than three runs only once. 

Lopez and Steffen Torgersen ’19 have been especially impressive lately. Lopez reached base seven times on Saturday and had two critical diving defensive stops while Torgersen had four hits, including a triple, an RBI and a web gem of his own for a game-saving double play. Both homered in the Holy Cross game, with Lopez adding two doubles on top of his long ball. 

“We’ve been hitting fastballs better and getting good counts,” Lopez said. “We’ve also just let our talent take over. Our lineup is too good to [score only a few runs].” 

Even though the offense has risen to the occasion, the pitching and the team as a whole have struggled lately. Dartmouth has lost five of its last six games, largely due to its pitching struggles. Dartmouth gave up 65 runs in its four games this week for an average of 12.2 per nine innings. Just last week, the Big Green gave up 35 runs in its three-game series at Columbia University.

After two losses against Penn yesterday, the Big Green is 3-6 in league play, and will need to finish the season strong in order to qualify for the Ivy League Championship Series, which features the top two teams in the conference. Additionally, it still has three-game series against Harvard University and Yale University, two of the top teams in the conference. 

After Tuesday’s game against the University of Massachusetts Lowell, the team will travel to Providence to take on Brown University for a three-game series. But after the team returns from Providence, it will have home-field advantage throughout the rest of the season. In other words, the Big Green will have a great shot at bouncing back and making a run at the Ivy League championship. 

“We’re going to try and come out quick offensively, jump out to a lead and put them away early,” Torgersen said. “We trust our pitchers to give us a good start. We’ll be ready to play.” 

Whalen agrees, as he praised his players’ resilience in his postgame speech before encouraging them to focus on the Sunday games ahead. 

“I told them I’m proud of them,” he said. “We talk a lot about being tough mentally and physically. Only tough and confident teams can come back the way we did multiple times. We just have to find a way to let this one go and go at it tomorrow.”