Baseball rallies to split eight games at RussMatt Invitational over spring break

After dropping its first four games of the invitational, the Big Green won its final four to enter Ivy League play on a winning streak.

by Lanie Everett | 4/1/22 2:05am

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Source: Courtesy of Connor Bertsch via Dartmouth Sports

Over spring break, the baseball team traveled to Aurendale, Fla. to play eight games in eight days at the RussMatt Invitational at Lake Myrtle Park. Things got off to a rocky start with losses in the first four games, but the Big Green rallied to close out the trip on a four-game winning streak. 

The spring trip was a valuable time for the team to gain on-field experience together, since many players had not been on a collegiate field in two years, or ever, according to senior pitcher and first baseman Justin Murray ’22.

“It just gave a good opportunity to some of the young guys, who haven’t played much or at all, to play and compete, which can only help us in terms of getting experience,” Murray said. “We’re spending eight days down there together to bond as a team and get closer to each other.”

The Big Green opened play on March 16 with a 7-3 loss against Fairfield University. The next day, Dartmouth took on Central Connecticut State University, losing 8-2. On day three, the team suffered their most lopsided loss of the trip, a 20-6 explosion by Bradley University. The losing streak continued through game four, a 9-2 loss to Central Connecticut in which the Big Green gave up six unanswered runs through the final four innings. 

Reflecting on the first four games, Murray said that the Big Green played “some good teams" and “learned a lot” from those games.  

Even amid the losses, players expressed happiness to be on the field after losing two seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Just getting back out there and being able to play Ivy League games is something I’ve wanted to do since I was recruited my junior year of high school,” outfielder Kolton Freeman ’23 said.  

After playing in the first four games of the invitational, outfielder Tyler Robinson ’24 said many of the players reflected on their confidence in their capabilities and ultimately brought whatever they had out on the field to finish out the invitational strong. 

“After the first four games there was definitely a sense of urgency to pick things up,” Robinson said. “The team realized, collectively, that we’re better than this.”

Finally, in game five, Dartmouth came back to stick it to Bradley University, winning 5-4. The Big Green came out strong, scoring three runs in the first inning and its final two runs in the second. Pitchers Trystan Sarcone ’22 and Jack Metzger ’23 held Bradley off so they did not score for the second through fourth innings, nor the seventh through ninth. In the first, Tyler Cox ’24, Bryce Daniel ’22, and Freeman scored. Daniel and Freeman got on base with singles while Cox reached first base on a throwing error. In the second inning, Robinson got on base after being hit by a pitch, advancing to second on Daniel’s walk, advancing to third on a wild pitch and finally scoring when Cox sent the ball flying into right field. Daniel scored not long after, driven in by a single off the bat of Connor Bertsch ’23. 

Keeping up the victory mindset, in game six Dartmouth defeated Williams College in a 15-6 blowout. 

In Dartmouth’s highest scoring game of the invitational, the Big Green won 19-4 against Bowdoin College in the seventh game in Florida. Highlights included Zackarie Casebonne ’25, Murray, Elliot Krewson ’25 and Jackson Hower ’25 making three hits in the game, as well as Kade Kretzschmar ’22 driving four runs. Additionally, Dartmouth’s high score is attributed to their sixth inning, in which the Big Green brought in 10 runs. 

In the final game of the invitational, Dartmouth came back in the eighth inning, scoring five runs to take the lead. Entering the eighth inning, Hope College had scored three runs in the first and three runs in the seventh to make the score 6-3. By the end of the eighth, Cox, Freeman, and Krewson had hit singles and Bertsch delivered a double. Dartmouth totaled five hits and five runs in the inning. Freeman also hit a home run in the fourth to bring in two runs total. The Big Green ultimately won the game 11-6. 

“Baseball is a momentum sport and I think it really helps getting back on track,” Freeman said. 

“You string a few wins together and then you are back on a roll,” Robinson added. 

The team plans to carry this momentum into Ivy League play — already displaying its focused mindset in a series win against Brown University last weekend at home, which featured a triumphant 14-1 final game. 

“At this point it’s just win every series, win every game,” Robinson said. “We’ve put the work in and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

The Big Green hopes to keep up its winning ways when it faces the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia this weekend.

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