The baseball team will go on its first Ivy road trip of the season this weekend to take on Dartmouth (4-13, 1-3 Ivy) and Harvard (5-14, 1-1 Ivy).
Dartmouth, winner of the Red Rolfe Division last year, has struggled to start the season and is currently in third place. The Big Green won only three of 12 games against Florida International University, Texas Christian University, Nebraska-Omaha, and Kansas to open the season.
“I know they haven't swung it great statistically yet, but they've played a very good schedule,” Lions head coach Brett Boretti said. “I know that they'll be ready for us when we get up there. We expect their best effort—they've got good players up and down that lineup.”
The Big Green split its first Ivy series against Cornell, but was swept by Princeton last weekend. The team is coming off a 11-5 loss to Quinnipiac on Wednesday in which Dartmouth righty Adam Charnin-Aker gave up five runs over 4.1 innings.
Big Green righty Louis Concato—who boasts a 2.81 ERA—is the only Dartmouth starter with an ERA under 4.00. The staff collectively has a 6.50 ERA, the worst mark in the Ancient Eight. But even so, Boretti said that Big Green's arms should not be underestimated.
“I expect a lot of strikes from them. They're not walking guys—they've got a veteran lineup defensively and offensively,” Boretti said. “They came into this year a little more inexperienced ... but those guys are well-seasoned by now, so we expect a very good battle.”
Second baseman Thomas Roulis and outfielder Jeff Keller lead Dartmouth offensively with batting averages of .306 and .303, respectively.
Harvard is currently tied with Yale atop the Red Rolfe Division, though it has played two fewer conference games. The Crimson opened the season with four wins in 17 games against Oral Roberts, Lamar, Michigan State, Connecticut, North Dakota State, and Army.
After its Ivy opener at Princeton was postponed, Harvard split its series against Cornell. The Crimson won its first game against Cornell on a single from second baseman Kyle Larrow in the top of the 10th, but fell to Cornell in the second game after righty Sam Dodge gave up five runs in just 2.1 innings.
Utility player Carlton Bailey leads the team with a .385 batting average and Larrow is second at .289. Righty Sean Poppen leads Harvard's staff with a 1.44 ERA in 25 innings of work, while the team has an overall ERA of 4.17, compared to Columbia's 4.77.
“Harvard's a very improved team, a very improved pitching staff,” Boretti said. “They found a way of learning how to win, and I think the coaching staff's doing a great job with them progressing, and I don't feel like there's anybody in the league who's head and shoulders above or below anybody.”
Columbia will use the same starters it used on Monday and Tuesday—senior lefty David Speer, sophomore righty George Thanopoulos, senior righty Joey Donino, and sophomore righty Kevin Roy. Thanopoulos earned the starting role after his March 18 start against Texas A&M, in which he gave up three runs in six innings and walked just one batter. He struck out nine in eight plus innings of work in Columbia's 4-0 win over Brown on Monday in his first career Ivy League start.
“I think anybody can get anybody on any given day in this league, and that's what makes it very, very competitive and very exciting,” Boretti said. “You try to be the best or the better baseball team on that day, and we've got our work cut out for us. We've got to put our best foot forward and do the best that we can.”
The first pitch of the Dartmouth twin bill in Hanover, N.H., is set for Saturday at 12 p.m. The Lions will travel to Cambridge, Mass., to take on Harvard in a doubleheader on Sunday.
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