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Rally from Six-Run Deficit Salvages Twinbill Split

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Junior Nick Santomauro     By Mark Washburn
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NEW HAVEN, Conn.   Junior Nick Santomauro cranked a two-out grand slam in the ninth, breaking an 8-8 deadlock, to help Dartmouth defeat Yale, 12-9, and salvage a doubleheader split with the host Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon at Yale Field. The Big Green (17-11, 12-2 Ivy) had fallen behind by six runs, 7-1, through three innings before slowly chipping away at the deficit. Yale (12-18, 6-8 Ivy) won a pitchers’ duel in the opener, 4-1.

It looked as if the game would remained tied at eight going into the bottom of the ninth as the first two Dartmouth hitters were retired by Yale’s Eric Shultz (2-3). But senior Johnathon Santopadre (Vacaville, Calif.) drew a walk, as did freshman Joe Sclafani (Palm City, Fla.). When sophomore Jeff Onstott (Houston, Texas) was hit by a pitch, it brought the Ivy League’s leading hitter in Santomauro to the plate. He did not disappoint, pulling a pitch over the fence in right field for his seventh home run of the season and second career grand slam.

The Bulldogs did not go quietly in the ninth against Big Green closer Ryan Smith (Greenlawn, N.Y.), who had entered the game with two outs in the eighth. Smith did strike out the first batter of the inning, but Stephen Miehls hit a triple and scored on a single by Zach Tobolowsky. But that would be all for Yale as Smith struck out the next two batters to end the game.

Yale struck first in the nightcap, banging out three singles in the first, the third off the bat of Charlie Neil, to take a 1-0 lead. But in the second inning, Dartmouth knotted the score on a solo homer to dead center by senior Ray Allen (Longwood, Fla.), his sixth of the year.

Sloppy play started to cost the Big Green as a pair of Dartmouth errors in the bottom of the second allowed the Bulldogs to score three unearned runs. And in the third, Yale put three more on the board, one of which was unearned.

Dartmouth turned the tables in the fourth, taking advantage of a Bulldog error to start pecking away at the six-run deficit. Allen walked with one out and junior Jim Wren (Granbury, Texas) reached on an error. After an infield fly, senior Kyle Evans (Springfield, Mo.) walked and Santopadre delivered a two-run single, making it a 7-3 game.

In the fifth, Onstott walked and Santopadre singled to start the inning, but the next two Big Green hitters could not advance them. Wren did, however, by lacing a two-run double into the right-field corner, closing the gap to two runs at 7-5.

The Dartmouth starting pitcher, junior Ben Murray (Grants Pass, Ore.) settled down after his rough start, holding Yale scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings. But in the sixth, he uncharacteristically walked Matt Schmidt with one out, then surrendered an RBI double to Stefan Schropp, who was a thorn in Dartmouth’s side all afternoon.

Senior Mike Pagliarulo (Winchester, Mass.) homered to start the seventh, his second of the year, then Wren singled and junior Brett Gardner (Bellevue, Wash.) doubled him home to bring the Big Green within a run, 8-7.

Sclafani started the eighth with a base hit and was bunted to second by Onstott. Yale decided to walk Santomauro intentionally and summon Shultz in from the bullpen. Pagliarulo foiled the strategy by delivering a single to bring Sclafani plateward and tie the score at eight. Santomauro helped preserve the tie in the bottom of the eighth when he made a spectacular diving catch in right-center, robbing Schropp of extra bases with one out, then hit the slam in the ninth to win it.

Smith (2-0) picked up the win with his 1.1 innings of relief, while Murray did a majority of the work on the mound. He pitched seven innings, allowing eight runs, but only four earned, on 11 hits, three walks (equaling his season total entering the game) and four strikeouts.

Pitching dominated the first game of the twinbill as the only hit over the first four innings was a solo home run off the bat of Schropp leading off the Yale first. Big Green junior pitcher Robert Young (Cleburne, Texas) walked the next batter, but then retired 12 of the next 13 hitters he faced.

Meanwhile, Yale’s Brandon Josselyn took a no-hitter and that 1-0 lead into the fifth before junior Wren led the inning off with a base hit. Gardner hit into a force play, then stole second base with two outs. Santopadre jumped at the opportunity, singling home Gardner to tie the score at one.

But it did not take long for Yale to jump back on top as Andrew Moore hit his first home run of the season with one out in the bottom half to make it a 2-1 game. Then with two gone, Schmidt and Schropp hit back-to-back doubles to increase the lead to two runs. The Bulldogs tacked on one more run in the sixth on doubles by Andy Megee and Tobolowsky.

Josselyn (5-2) pitched all seven innings to pick up his Ivy League-leading fifth win of the year. He gave up just the one run on three hits while walking one batter and striking out nine. Schropp was perfect at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a walk, double and second homer of the season.

Young (3-3) was dealt the loss, yielding four runs on six hits (all for extra bases) with a pair of walks and six strikeouts. At the plate, Pagliarulo was the only Dartmouth batter to reach base twice, walking and getting hit by a pitch.

Dartmouth and Yale finish their four-game series tomorrow with a doubleheader at Yale Field at noon.