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The Dartmouth
May 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Baseball struggles to overcome early losing streak on the road

The Big Green was swept by University of Miami in a three-game series to kick off spring play, followed by losses to Wagner, Holy Cross and Penn State the next weekend.

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Big Green baseball is looking to maintain its strong performance in conference play following its 2022 season. Last spring, the Big Green finished with a 24-19 overall record and 14-7 in conference play to secure a third place finish in the standings.

To kick off the season on Feb. 24, no. 22 University of Miami swept Dartmouth in a three-game series at Alex Rodriguez Park in Coral Gables, Florida. This past weekend, the team traveled to the USA Baseball Complex in North Carolina to face off against Wagner College twice, as well as Holy Cross University and Penn State University. The Big Green has not been able to secure a win so far.

The Big Green fell to UMiami in each of their match-ups. A ninth-inning rally was cut short, leading to a 9-7 loss in the first game. UMiami continued to dominate the Big Green the next day as the Big Green were shut out 6-0. In the final game of the series, the Hurricanes won 20-2. 

“We knew that was going to be a tough series,” pitcher Jeff Lee ’25 said. “We went into the game with the mindset of let's do what we can do.”

The Big Green struck first in the second inning on the first day. With a man on first and second and two outs, Tyler Robinson ’24 singled to center field, bringing Max Zajec ’24 home to score the first run. UMiami’s Gage Ziehl loaded up the bases by walking Tyler Cox ’24 and Elliot Krewson ’25. Nathan Cmeyla ’24 then shot a single to first base bringing in Robinson and a sliding Cox to home plate. After Cmeyla’s two RBI singles, Ziehl was able to retire the next 10 Big Green hitters.

In the fourth inning, UMiami hit a two-out, three-run homerun to finally put the Hurricanes on the board. The Big Green went into the fifth inning, leading 4-3. Shortly after, the Hurricanes hit another three-run homerun to put them in the lead with a score of 6-4. Shane Bauer ’24 was then placed on the mound to finish the inning.

All was calm until the bottom of the seventh-inning as the Hurricanes added three more runs to the scoreboard to make the score 9-4.

The Big Green came into the top of the ninth-inning down by five runs and started to build momentum. Krewson brought in the first run of the inning as he singled to bring in Robinson, forcing the Hurricanes to bring in a new pitcher. Cmeyla continued the hot streak as he doubled down the third base line bringing in two runs, reaching a new career high of four RBIs. Captain Kolton Freeman ’23 backed-up his teammates by producing another infield single to get the go-ahead run up to bat. 

“My goal going into the inning was to get another guy in the back half of their bullpen,” Freeman said. “If we can get into their best bullpen guys on Friday, then we won’t have to face them down the line.”

However, the Hurricanes’ All-American closer, Brian Walters, produced back-to-back strikeouts to end the Big Green’s rally and get the save. 

The next day, Jack Metzger ’23 took the mound in his first career start. Metzger started off strong in the first inning as he kept the Hurricanes off the board. UMiami would be the first team to score in the second as it hit a three-run blast into right center after a fielding error. In the fourth, the Hurricanes produced back-to-back triples and by the end of the inning the team was leading 5-0. However, Metzger pitched a scoreless fifth-inning and in the five innings he pitched, he fanned six batters, achieving a new career high.

Joseph Chambers ’25 took the mound in the sixth-inning, making his collegiate debut. The Hurricanes' Karson Ligon kept the Big Green scoreless for seven straight innings. Lee came into the game to replace Chambers and pitched a scoreless eighth-inning. 

“I give credit to the coach, catcher and the position players behind me,” Lee said. “They make some great plays.”

The Hurricanes 12 hits culminated in a 6-0 shutout of the Big Green, which was Dartmouth’s first in over three years. Dartmouth only had six hits total in the game with four errors pushing the team to a 0-2 record. 

For the final game of the series, Eddie Albert ’26 would make his collegiate debut as the starting pitcher for the Big Green. He pitched two shutout innings against the Hurricanes as he pitched his way out of a bases-loaded jam.

Milo Suarez ’26 struck first as he had his first collegiate hit, slamming the first pitch for a homerun. He put Dartmouth on the board, leading 1-0. Nico Bañez ’26 had his first collegiate hit after Suarez, hitting a double. Robinson brought Bañez home, making the score 2-0 in favor of Dartmouth. These would be the only runs the Big Green would score this game.

Freshman pitcher Mac Burke ’26 also debuted and finished the fourth-inning that Danny Will ’25 started. 

“I was really nervous,”  Burke said. “Once I got in there and threw a couple of strikes, I settled down.”

Burke faced a no-out bases-loaded jam in the fifth but received the first out of the inning with a forceout at home.

“I tried to work corner to corner, tried to get my fastballs inside and made sure that I didn't leave anything in the middle,”  Burke said.

By the end of the seventh inning, the University of Miami was leading 20-2, making it the first time since 2020 that the Big Green suffered a series sweep.

“The reason we do these early weekends against hard teams is because we want to get our weaknesses exposed early,”  Freeman said. “It's okay to lose because we can work on it and make adjustments.”

Dartmouth did not receive much recovery time before traveling to the USA Baseball Complex this past weekend. On Friday, March 3, The Big Green fell to Wagner 19-13. The team continued to face consecutive losses against Holy Cross 17-4 and Penn State 8-2 on Saturday before facing off against Wagner a second time on Sunday. 

The Big Green narrowly fell to Wagner 4-3 in this following match. After the two teams had tied the game in the eighth inning on a bases-loaded walk, the Seahawks’ Chris Conniff had a two-out, walk-off single to ensure a victory. 

The Big Green will be back on the field on March 14 in Tampa, Florida to face the University of South Florida.