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Season Ends on Sour Note at NCAA Regional

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Freshman Kyle Hendricks     By Brian Westerholt
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Zac Elgie drove in six runs and belted a grand slam to lead the third-seeded Kansas Jayhawks to a 16-0 victory over Dartmouth at the Chapel Hill Regional on Saturday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium. Kansas (38-23) staved off elimination as Shaeffer Price tossed his second shutout of the season, while the Big Green (27-18) lost consecutive games for the first time in over two months as their first NCAA appearance in 22 years came to an end.

Buck Afenir and Tony Thompson led the 17-hit Jayhawk attack with three hits apiece, including Afenir’s two-run homer in the first for his 10th four-bagger of the season. David Nardowski hit his third home run of the regional and eighth of the year in the third to make it 3-0.

But the game got away from freshman right-hander Kyle Hendricks (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) in the fourth. Afenir and Thompson singled to left to start the inning, and when Casey Lytle bunted in front of the plate, Hendricks’ throw to first was wild, allowing Afenir to score and putting runners at second and third. A curveball got away from Hendricks, hitting Nick Faunce to load the bases, and Zac Elgie sent a 2-0 fastball over the netting in left field for a grand slam and an 8-0 Kansas advantage.

Sophomore Dan Ternowchek (Glenmoore, Pa.) replaced Hendricks to start the fifth, and Brian Heere chopped a ball that took a bad hop off the face of first baseman Mike Pagliarulo (Winchester, Mass.) for a base hit. Pagliarulo tried to remain in the game, but after a few pitches was too dizzy to continue. The Jayhawks got three more singles in the frame, two that drove in runs off the bats of Thompson and Elgie, pushing the spread to 10 runs.

Hall, meanwhile, was making quick work of the Big Green hitters as he retired the first 14 he faced. Junior Jim Wren (Granbury, Texas) broke up the perfect game with two outs in the fifth on a line single to center field, but advanced no further.

In the sixth, Kansas tacked on five more runs (only three earned), two on a Heere triple into the right-field corner. Thompson and Elgie drove in runs again on a single and a bases-loaded walk, respectively, while James Stanfield hit a sacrifice fly to make it 15-0.

The final Jayhawk run crossed the plate in the seventh when Jason Brunansky lined a single to center, scoring Brett Lisher who had hit a pinch-double to start the inning.

The best scoring opportunity for the Big Green came in the bottom half of the seventh. Ivy League Player of the Year Nick Santomauro (North Caldwell, N.J.) grounded a single through the right side and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Sophomore Jason Brooks (Westlake Village, Calif.), who had replaced Pagliarulo, ripped a single to left and senior Ray Allen (Longwood, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But just like the night before when Dartmouth hit into four double plays, Kansas turned a 6-4-3 twin-killing to end the threat.

The Big Green got a couple on the ninth as well on singles by junior Ezra Josephson (Key West, Fla.) and Santomauro, but another double play brought the game to a close.

Hall (5-6) allowed just five singles and did not walk a batter while striking out six in his complete-game gem. He threw an efficient 98 pitches to get through the nine innings as well.

Hendricks (6-3) suffered his first loss since the third game of the season, yielding eight runs, seven earned, on six hits in four innings of work with three strikeouts. Sophomore Ryan Smith (Greenlawn, N.Y.) was the only Dartmouth pitcher out of five that did not allow a run, tossing a scoreless ninth.

Santomauro had two of the Big Green’s five hits on the day, his team-leading 20th multi-hit game of the season, and finished the regional with a .500 average (4-for-8).

“We had a tremendous game pitched against us by [Shaeffer Hall] from Kansas,” stated head coach Bob Whalen after the game. “He was just exceptional. Unfortunately, in baseball, sometimes that’s going to happen. We’ve been a very good offensive team, a very consistent team. But we faced an exceptional team in Kansas today, which is led by one of the best coaches in America, Ritchie Price.”

Notes: Dartmouth finished the season with the second-most wins in the program’s history (27), trailing just the 2000 squad that won 29 ... the Big Green set school records in runs (341), home runs (44), RBI (323), games played (45), triples (19), innings pitched (372.2), pitching appearances (126) and saves (13) ... this was the fourth time Dartmouth was shut out all season (San José State, Santa Clara and Boston College) ... this was the first loss by more than three runs since a 14-9 defeat at then-#12 Cal Poly on March 25 by a 14-9 score.