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2011 Ivy League Championship Preview: Dartmouth vs Princeton

Familiar opponents will face off in the Ivy League Baseball Championship Saturday, as Dartmouth and Princeton will battle for the title in a best of three series. The teams have met three times for the championship within the past eleven years.

Dartmouth (29-10 overall, 14-6 within the Ivy league) is the two-time defending Ivy champions, and will look to secure their third straight championship via the steady sophomore starting pitcher Kyle Hunter. Hunter has gone 5-2 with a 2.83 ERA so far this season, and has been used deep into games (he’s pitched six innings or more in his last seven starts.) Hunter, a LHP, will pitch game one. Either Kyle Hendricks or Cole Sulser will take the mound for the Big Green in Saturday’s second game. Junior Hendricks pitched a complete game last Sunday against Harvard, and is second in the Ivy League in ERA. Hendricks also pitched the second to last meeting between Dartmouth and Princeton, lasting eight innings, with seven strike outs, allowing eight hits on April 10th.

Offensively, while Darmouth’s batting average puts them 29th overall in all of Division I baseball, it was a disappointing ..257 within their own league. The player to watch at bat for the Big Green will be junior Joe Sciafani, who has a .363 batting average, and leads his team with 58 hits and 44 runs. Shortship Sciafani also has set the Dartmouth school record in triples this year with eight, and is second nationally in that category.

Host Princeton (21-21 overall, 15-5 within the Ivy League) may bring freshman two-way player Matt Ford to the mound in game one. Ford is an infielder and pitcher, and has gone 4-3 with a 4.39 ERA in nine starts. Princeton will also be eager to start sophomore Zak Hermans, who leads the team with a 5-1 record in nine starts and a 3.07 ERA.

Tigers catcher Sam Mulroy will look to deliver on his big batting numbers this season. The junior has a .308 batting percentage and leads the team with 38 RBIs. Princeton has been hitting an .280 batting percentage in league games, and has four players hitting over .300.

This is Princeton’s first championship series appearance in five seasons, and its 12th overall. This is Dartmouth’s seventh overall appearance in the series. If Dartmouth wins the championship, they will match Harvard (1997, 98, 99) as the Ivy League’s only three time consecutive champions within this playoff system.

Game 1 and 2 are a doubleheader that begin Saturday at noon at Princeton’s Clarke Field. If necessary, Game 3 will take place on Sunday at 1pm. Live stats and video links are available on the Ivy League website.

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