FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Howling winds, with gusts reaching over 40 mph blowing out to right field, wreaked havoc on the Ivy League Baseball Championship held at Columbia’s Robertson Field on Saturday afternoon as Dartmouth and the host Lions split the doubleheader to force a decisive game three on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Columbia (26-20) cruised to a 13-2 triumph in the first game behind the pitching of Pat Lowery and five RBIs from Dario Pizzano, while the Big Green (24-16) won a 15-10 slugfest as both senior Jim Wren and freshman Chris O’Dowd homered and drove in five runs.
The top five hitters in the Dartmouth lineup had 13 of the team’s 15 hits in the nightcap with sophomore Joe Sclafani and O’Dowd each collecting four safeties. O’Dowd finished the game a perfect 4-for-4 with a walk, two doubles, a home run and four runs scored along with his five RBIs, while Sclafani was 4-for-5 with an RBI while scoring three times.
The Lions jumped out a quick 5-0 lead in the first inning of game one on the strength of back-to-back home runs by Pizzano and Alex Ferrera. Pizzano’s was a three-run clout and his 12th of the year.
Dartmouth joined in the back-to-back fun when sophomore Jake Carlson and freshman Zack Bellenger each hit two-out solo bombs in the top of the second, their second and fifth four-baggers respectively, to make it a 5-2 ball game.
Big Green starter Kyle Hendricks, meanwhile, settled into a bit of a groove, retiring nine of the 10 hitters after surrendering the consecutive home runs. But with two gone in the fourth, Billy Rumpke started a rally with a single between short and third. Nick Crucet drew a four-pitch walk before Eisen looped a double down the left-field line, scoring both runners to extend Columbia’s lead to 7-2.
The Lions took complete control in the fifth, knocking Hendricks from the box. Aurrichio was hit by an 0-2 pitch to lead off the frame and went to third on a Nick Ferraresi double. Pizzano picked up two more RBIs with a line single just over the outstretched glove of junior Jason Brooks at first. When Ferrara singled and Dean Forthun walked to load the bases, Rumpke ripped a shot off Bellenger’s glove at third for an RBI single, ending Hendricks’ afternoon.
But Columbia wasn’t finished as Crucet was hit by a Ben Murray pitch to force in a run. Left fielder Sam Bean caught a fly at his ankles down the left-field line and fired a strike to the plate to gun down Forthun for a double play, but a walk to Banos then allowed Aurrichio to finish what he started with a two-run single to center, giving the Lions a 13-2 advantage.
Lowery (5-3) threw 113 pitches in his complete-game victory, allowing the two runs on eight hits while walking two. He also struck out seven and got a pair of double-play grounders, including one to end the game with the bases loaded.
Hendricks suffered the loss to fall to 4-5 on the season, surrendering a career-worst 12 runs in four-plus innings. The three Big Green pitchers in the game did not strike out a batter in the game for the first time this year.
It took Dartmouth all of four pitches to get on the board in the second game. Sclafani laced a single to left on the first pitch, junior Sam Bean moved him up on 1-0 pitch with a tapper to the catcher and O’Dowd sent the next pitch on a short hop off the center-field fence for an RBI double. A passed ball sent O’Dowd to third, and Brooks plated him with a single through the right side for a 2-0 lead.
Dartmouth doubled its score in the fourth on a two-run homer to dead center off the bat of senior Brett Gardner, his second of the season, scoring freshman Zack Bellenger who had doubled.
In the top of the third, Columbia took advantage of the gusting wind with a pair of solo shots. Crucet snuck a poke over the fence in right-center for his first round-tripper with one down, and Banos sent his fifth long ball out to straight-away center.
Back-to-back doubles by Pizzano and Ferrera with one out in the fourth got the Lions within one, then Forthun and Rumpke both singled to tie the score and put runners on the corners. The Big Green escaped without further damage, however, thanks to a grounder to short that Sclafani and second baseman Jeff Onstott turned into a double play even with the speedy Crucet trying to beat the relay throw to first.
The wind played a part in Dartmouth’s fifth run. Gardner was hit by a pitch with two out, stole second and scored when Sclafani popped a ball up down the left-field line that normally would have gone well foul but blew back into fair territory for an RBI single.
Columbia came right back and took the lead in the fifth on an Eisen double and an RBI single from Aurrichio. It looked like senior Robert Young had the third out on a routine fly to left, but the wind came into play again as the ball fell for a single. Ferrera gave the Lions the lead with a hard single through the left side, and Forthun hit a routine fly to center that blew out of the yard for a three-run shot and a 9-5 lead.
In the bottom half, Bean, O’Dowd and Wren each doubled to end Lion pitcher Dan Bracey’s day, and Brooks greeted reliever Geoff Whitaker with a wind-blown double to right as Wren moved up to third. Bellenger plated Wren with a grounder to second to make it 9-8.
Sophomore reliever Cole Sulser came on to pitch the sixth for the Big Green and restored some order with a quick 1-2-3 inning. O’Dowd gave Dartmouth the lead once again for good at 11-9 with his fifth home run of the year, a titanic three-run blast, to score Sclafani and Bean who had reached on a single and an error.
Columbia touched Sulser up for a run in the eighth, but ran itself out of possibly more. Rumpke worked his way on base with a walk and Crucet singled him to second. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners up to second and third, and Rumpke scored on Banos’ grounder to third. But when Crucet tried to take third on the throw to first, Brooks gunned the ball back across the diamond with Sclafani placing the tag on Crucet when he slid past the bag.
Needing some insurance runs to feel somewhat safe with the gusting wind, Dartmouth loaded the bases with one out. Wren fell behind 1-2 in the count, then made the Lions pay for intentionally walking O’Dowd by lofting a ball to center that blew right out of the yard for a grand slam and a 15-10 lead.
Junior Ryan Smith closed out the game in the ninth, allowing just a two-out single.
Sulser picked up his seventh win without a defeat with his three innings of one-run ball. He now is tied for the Ivy League lead in victories and has more wins without a loss than any Dartmouth pitcher in history.
The Big Green also equaled their largest comeback victory of the year after falling behind by four runs in the second game today.