HANOVER, N.H. — In a showdown between the top two teams in the Rolfe Division standings of the Ivy League, Dartmouth posted a pair of 5-2 victories on Saturday afternoon over the visiting Brown Bears (12-14-1, 7-3 Ivy) to extend its winning streak to 12 games and remain unblemished in conference play. The Big Green (13-9, 10-0 Ivy) got a gutty pitching performance by junior Robert Young (Cleburne, Texas) in the opener of the four-game series, while junior Ben Murray (Grants Pass, Ore.) tossed an efficient eight innings in game two.
Dartmouth closer Ryan Smith (Greenlawn, N.Y.) earned saves in each game, recording the last two outs on strikes with two men on base in the first game, then retiring the side in order in the ninth of game two. The sophomore now has nine saves this year, breaking his own school record while setting a new career standard with 16.
In the first game, Young (3-2) was uncharacteristically wild as he issued five free passes. A total of 12 men reached base against him, but he was able to battle and make pitches when he needed. The southpaw also helped himself by picking off two runners. Young threw 126 pitches to get through 6.1 innings, yielding six hits and just the two runs. He left the game after two straight batters reached on errors with one out in the seventh and final inning, but Smith was able to preserve the win.
Brown threatened right off the bat as Steve Daniels and Chris Tanabe singled to start the contest. But Young induced a grounder to third, and senior Johnathon Santopadre (Vacaville, Calif.) was able to turn a nifty double play, tagging Daniels running to third before rifling his throw to first. After a walk, Young got the third out on a called third strike.
In the bottom half, the Big Green struck quickly as freshman Joe Sclafani (Palm City, Fla.) drew a walk and was brought home on a triple into the right-center gap off the bat of sophomore Jeff Onstott (Houston, Texas). Following a walk to junior Nick Santomauro (North Caldwell, N.J.), senior Mike Pagliarulo (Winchester, Mass.) hit into a force play to score Onstott and give Dartmouth a 2-0 lead.
Daniels and Tanabe reached base again to start the third, but Young once again induced the third-to-first double play. But Pete Greskoff still managed to drive in a run with his two-out single, cutting the Brown deficit in half.
Dartmouth got that run back in the fourth on a Ray Allen (Longwood, Fla.) solo home run to left. The blast ties him for the team lead with five.
Matt Colantonio doubled to start the Bear fifth, and three batters later scored on a Matt Nuzzo grounder to short.
In the sixth, the Big Green got a pair of unearned insurance runs. Onstott started the frame with a single back through the box, and Santomauro lined a smash right at the second baseman who missed the catch for an error. One out later, the runners moved up on a passed ball, and Allen was intentionally walked to load the bases. Junior Jim Wren (Granbury, Texas) lofted a sacrifice fly to left for one run, and after junior Brett Gardner (Bellevue, Wash.) beat out his second infield hit of the game, senior Jack Monahan (Overland Park, Kan.) was drilled on a 3-0 pitch to force in a run.
Mark Gormley (3-2) got stuck with the loss for Brown, giving up five hits and five runs, only three earned, with three walks and a pair of strikeouts.
Dartmouth struck first in the nightcap on a two-out, two-run triple into the right-field corner by Santopadre to score Wren and Gardner who had walked and singled, respectively. All five Big Green runs in the game would score on two-out hits.
Murray was the story of game two, however, retiring 13 of the first 14 batters he faced. The Bears finally touched him for a run in the fifth when Robert Papenhause and Daniel Rosoff hit back-to-back doubles. Two grounders to end the inning allowed Dartmouth to cling to its 2-1 lead.
A little two-out lightening in the bottom half boosted the advantage back to two when Pagliarulo singled through the right side then trucked home on an Allen double into the left-field corner.
Dartmouth made it 4-1 in the sixth when Sclafani beat out a slow roller to second to score Monahan from third.
The two sides traded runs in the seventh as Ryan Zrenda provided an RBI single with two gone for the Bears, as did Wren for the Big Green.
Murray won his team-leading fourth game against just one loss, needing just 95 pitches to get through eight innings. He scattered eight hits and did not walk a batter while fanning four. Smith struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth to close out the victory.
Taking the loss was Conor Burke (2-1), who allowed four runs on nine hits and a walk in six innings of work. He also struck out four.
Dartmouth will look to extend its 12-game winning streak — its longest since winning a dozen consecutively back in 2000 — when the two teams conclude their four-game series with a noon doubleheader at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park tomorrow.