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Baseball Opens Season with Doubleheader Loss at Duke

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Junior Brett Gardner     By Beverly Schaefer
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DURHAM, N.C. The Dartmouth baseball team dropped both games of their season-opening doubleheader at Duke (5-1) on Friday by scores of 8-5 and 6-1. The Big Green, which started the day back in New Hampshire, could not get their bats on track in the rainy weather with just 10 hits in the twinbill, and only two in the nightcap.

Dartmouth (0-2) jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the second game of the doubleheader thanks to a Blue Devil miscue. Senior Johnathon Santopadre (Vacaville, Calif.) led off the game by reaching second on a throwing error, moved up to second on a grounder and scored on a single through the second base hole off the bat of junior Nick Santomauro (North Caldwell, N.J.).

In the bottom half, Duke quickly tied the score on a one-out triple by Alex Hassan and a double by Jeremy Gould, who was gunned down at third on a perfect relay from right field trying to stretch his hit into a triple.

Both Big Green freshman starter Kyle Hendricks (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Duke hurler Andrew Wolcott settled in after the first frame, putting goose eggs on the board for the next four innings. The Blue Devils finally broke the deadlock in the sixth when they strung together three consecutive one-out singles, the last by Nate Freiman to plate Hassan from second. Dartmouth escaped further damage when sophomore reliever Ryan Smith (Greenlawn, N.Y) got a strikeout and a fly ball to contain the damage.

In each of the seventh and eighth innings, Duke scored twice. Ryan McCurdy delivered an RBI single to score Jake Lemmerman, who opened the inning by getting hit by a pitch then moved to third on a Will Piwnica-Worms double. Smith then tried to pick off McCurdy, but his throw was wild allowing Piwnica-Worms to score. Gabriel Saade and Piwnica-Worms each drove in a run in the eighth with a double and a triple, respectively.

Wolcott (2-0) allowed just two hits and the one unearned run in his seven-inning stint, striking out eight Big Green hitters. Hassan, who went 3-for-4 at the plate, came out of right field to toss two perfect innings to earn his second save of the young season.

Hendricks (0-1) was the tough-luck loser, surrendering just two runs on seven hits in his 5.1 innings while striking out three in his collegiate debut.

In the first game, Duke starter Christopher Manno (1-1) was the story, tossing seven frames and allowing just two runs on three hits and a walk while fanning four. He faced just one over the minimum through the first six before tiring in the seventh when junior Jim Wren (Granbury, Texas) smacked a one-out double over the left fielder and Santomauro singled him home. After two wild pitches sent Santomauro to third, senior Mike Pagliarulo (Winchester, Mass.) hit a grounder to short to bring him plateward.

But Duke had already struck first in the second inning as five Blue Devils crossed the plate. The first five batters all reached base on two singles, a walk and a pair of hit batters as Big Green hurler Robert Young (Cleburne, Texas) went through an uncharacteristic wild spell. One of those base hits was a single up the middle off the bat of Brian Litwin with the bases loaded to bring home the first two runs. Gould added a two-run double, and Freiman’s sacrifice fly capped the scoring in the frame.

Duke tacked on single runs in the sixth and seventh off sophomore reliever Dan Ternowchek (Glenmoore, Pa.) Litwin beat out a double play grounder which allowed Saade to score from third with one out in the sixth. The following inning, a throwing error put runners on the corners for Matt Williams, who doubled home Gould for an unearned run.

The last Blue Devil run came in the eighth on back-to-back doubles by McCurdy and Hassan.

Dartmouth did not go quietly in the ninth, however, battling to the very end. Wren led off the inning with a single off reliever Dennis O’Grady and scored one out later on a Pagliarulo double to the right-center gap. On the very next pitch, junior Brett Gardner (Bellevue, Wash.) blasted a two-run homer to left-center to put the Big Green within three runs. Freshman Joe Sclafani (Palm City, Fla.) picked up his first collegiate hit with a single, but that was all Dartmouth could muster as O’Grady recorded the final two outs.

In five innings on the mound, Young (0-1) had just one bad inning, but otherwise pitched well. He yielded five runs on six hits and a walk while striking out two in his season debut.

The final game of the series is scheduled for 1 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, but more rain is expected, leaving the status of the game uncertain.