Ivy League Championship Series: Cornell and Dartmouth split; Game 3 on Sunday

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
HANOVER, N.H. — In both games of the Ivy Championship doubleheader, Dartmouth staked visiting Cornell to a six-run lead. Both times, the Big Green rallied to take the lead. Only once could they hold on, winning the opener, 8-6, before falling in the nightcap, 14-12, at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park in front of 1,024 fans.

Senior catcher Kyle Evans (Springfield, Mo.) capped a seven-run Big Green fifth inning with a two-run single to lift Dartmouth (24-15) to the win. The second game featured five Cornell (17-22) home runs, including two by Nate David, as the Big Red were able to overcome surrendering a second six-run advantage. David’s second blast turned a 12-10 deficit into a 13-12 lead in the seventh inning.

Cornell struck quickly in the first inning as the first four batters reached base. Brian Billigen bunted for a hit before Scott Hardinger was hit by a pitch. Nathan Ford followed with a single to left to load the bases, and Mickey Brodsky delivered a two-run single. The Dartmouth defense spared southpaw Robert Young from further damage when freshman shortstop Joe Sclafani (Palm City, Fla.) snared a line drive off the bat of Frank Hager, stepped on second and threw to first to complete just the second triple play in Dartmouth history. The other occurred almost exactly 71 years ago on May 4, 1938.

The score remained 2-0 into the bottom of the fourth when Dartmouth loaded the bases with nobody out. But Big Red starter Jadd Schmeltzer struck out the next hitter before junior Jim Wren (Granbury, Texas) lofted a fly to right. Billigen unleashed a strong throw to the plate to gun down sophomore Jeff Onstott (Houston, Texas) and end the threat.

Building on that momentum, the Big Red put four more runs on the board in the fifth. Catcher Adam Jacobs tripled high off the center-field fence before Billigen cranked his first home run of the season to right. Hardinger also tripled and Ford drew a walk to put runners on the corners. Young fanned Brodsky for the second out, but Hager and Domenic Di Ricco came through with RBI singles to give Cornell a 6-0 bulge.

In the bottom half, the Big Green went to work on Schmeltzer. Freshman Jake Carlson (Woodlands, Texas) and Evans singled to start the stanza, and Sclafani belted a two-run triple to right-center with one out for the first Dartmouth runs. Onstott ripped a double inside the first-base bag to plate Sclafani before junior Nick Santomauro (North Caldwell, N.J.) beat out an infield hit. The throw to first was also wild, allowing Onstott to streak home. After a walk to senior Mike Pagliarulo (Winchester, Mass.), senior Ray Allen (Longwood, Fla.) hit a high chopper back to the mound, which Schmeltzer threw high to second, leaving everyone safe. Schmeltzer got the second out on strikes and looked as if he had escaped by striking out Carlson. But the pitch squirted away, allowing Carlson to reach and Santomauro to scramble home. Evans then came through with his big hit.

Young (5-3) settled in after the four-run fifth, pitching into the eighth inning. Sophomore closer Ryan Smith (Greenlawn, N.Y.) entered the game with two out and a man on first and proceeded to retire all four batters he faced for his 10th save of the year.

Santomauro finished the first game with three of Dartmouth’s 10 hits, while Sclafani, Onstott and Evans each had two. In addition to the triple play, the defense also turned a twin-killing to set a new school season record with 43.

The second game was even wilder than the first with the Big Red serving as the designated home team. Once again the Cornell hitters pounded the ball early. Billigen bunted for a hit again, and scampered to third when the throw attempt ended up down the right-field line. Hardinger provided a sacrifice fly for the game’s first run before Ford walked, Brodsky doubled him to third and Hager brought everyone home with a three-run jack, his fourth of the year.

The Big Green got one back in the second on a one-out walk to Allen, a single by Wren and a sacrifice fly by Carlson. But Cornell responded with three more tallies in its half. A perfect relay on a Billigen double to left-center allowed Dartmouth to gun down Matt Langseth at the plate for the second out of the inning. The third out proved elusive, however, as Hardinger hit an RBI single, Ford doubled home Hardinger and Brodsky poked another single to make it 7-1 after two.

Onstott cranked his fourth homer of the season, a two-run blast, in the third to get the Big Green back within four at 7-3. Then in the fifth, Sclafani started the inning with a single to end Matt Hill’s afternoon on the mound. Reliever Patrick Lewicky allowed three of the four batters he faced to reach, with the only out being a sensational catch at the fence in left-center by Di Ricco to rob Santomauro of extra bases. But Onstott walked, Pagliarulo laced a two-run single and Allen walked, which brought Tony Bertucci out of the bullpen.

Wren greeted Bertucci with an RBI single and Carlson grounded a double down the third-base line to score Allen. A wild pitch allowed Wren to cross the plate, giving Dartmouth its first lead of the game at 8-7.

The bottom of the fifth began with Ford’s ninth home run of the season, tying the game. With two outs, David knocked his first four-bagger of the game, scoring Hager who had singled, to a 10-8 Cornell lead.

Another Dartmouth rally in the sixth put the Big Green back on top, 12-10. Sclafani led off with another single and Onstott doubled him home. Cornell turned to Mickey Brodsky to take the mound from his position at first base, and he retired the first batter he faced before Pagliarulo provided the game-tying single. Wren singled Pagliarulo to third with two down, and Carlson dropped an RBI single in right-center to break the tie. Carlson was picked off first, but Wren (now on third base) drew a throw from the first baseman which was wild, allowing Wren to score.

Dartmouth sophomore reliever Dan Ternowchek (Glenmoore, Pa.), who had retired five of the six batters he had faced, got into some trouble with one down in the seventh. Hager doubled and Di Ricco singled him to third. The Big Green turned to Smith (2-2) once again to squelch the uprising, but David had other plans, hitting his eighth homer of the year just above the yellow line in deep left-center to put the Big Red back on top, 13-12.

A Hardinger solo shot in the eighth, his first of the season, was the final run of the game.

Cornell closer David Rochefort tossed the final two innings, allowing just a two-out single in the ninth. Santomauro, the Ivy League’s Blair Bat winner with the conference’s top average, stepped to the plate as the tying run. But Rochefort got Santomauro looking at a called third strike to secure his eighth save of the year.

Brodsky (2-3) earned the victory, allowing two runs on five hits in two innings.

The Big Red had 18 hits in the game, with Billigen, Hager and Langseth providing three apiece. David led Cornell with five RBIs, while Hardinger and Hager each knocked in three.

Onstott and Wren both were 4-for-5 to lead the 17-hit Dartmouth attack. Onstott scored three times, plus joined Pagliarulo and Carlson with three RBIs. Before this game, Sclafani had been the only Big Green hitter to record four hits in a game this season.

The decisive third game will begin at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park on Sunday at 1 p.m. The expeced matchup on the mound is sophomore right-hander Corey Pappel (2-2, 4.84 ERA) for Cornell and freshman right-hander Kyle Hendricks (5-2, 4.41) for the Big Green. Tickets for the game will go on sale at noon at the field, $5 for adults and $3 for youths 14 and under. Ivy League students with a valid college ID will be admitted free. The game will also be available to fans via the internet with free video and audio streaming, plus live stats, at www.DartmouthSports.com.