Dartmouth (23-16, 14-6) at Cornell (29-14-1, 14-6)
Location: Hoy Field, Ithaca, N.Y.
Tickets: Adults — $5; Students with valid ID and children under 10 — $3
First pitch: Doubleheader Saturday, May 5 at noon; decisive game (if necessary) Sunday, May 6 at 1 p.m.
Series Record vs. Cornell: Big Green lead, 89-77-1
Live Video through IvyLeagueSports.com, Dave Collins and Alex Giminez broadcasters
Ivy League Championship Central
Complete Game Notes
Rematch of 2009 ICS
Dartmouth won its fifth straight Rolfe Division title to square off against Cornell in the Ivy Championship Series. These two squads battled in the best-of-three series back in 2009 as well, with the Big Green emerging victorious, two games to one. Although the Big Red and Dartmouth both posted 14-6 records in Ivy play, Cornell won the tiebreaker to host the series by winning both match-ups last month, 2-0 and 5-2.
Only Princeton has won more consecutive divisional titles since the Ivy League adopted the format in 1993, winning nine straight from 1996-2004. This is Dartmouth’s eighth trip to the ICS since 2000, winning the event in 2009 and 2010.
In each of the last four years, the series has gone to a decisive third game with the Big Green falling to Columbia (7-5) in 2008, beating Cornell (10-0) in 2009, gaining revenge on Columbia (11-5) in 2010 and faltering at Princeton (8-5) last year.
Last Week in Review
• The Big Green needed just one win in the four-game series against Harvard to clinch the division title, and they didn’t waste any time by knocking off the Crimson in the opener, 11-3, thanks in part to a seven-run sixth, the biggest scoring inning for Dartmouth all season.
• In the nightcap in Cambridge, the Green nearly duplicated the score, trouncing Harvard, 12-3, as freshman Nick Lombardi launched a grand slam and classmate Adam Frank pitched a season-high eight innings.
• Another twinbill sweep would have given Dartmouth home field advantage for the ICS, but the Crimson foiled those plans by hanging on for an 8-7 victory in the first game on Sunday. Trailing 7-0, the Big Green got another grand slam, this time by sophomore Jeff Keller, but the comeback fell a run short in the end.
• Dartmouth rebounded in the series finale to beat Harvard, 8-3. A six-run second gave junior Michael Johnson more than enough cushion on the mound, as he surrendered just two runs over seven stanzas.
• On Tuesday, the Big Green got one last tune-up, defeating Hartford, 13-6, as every positional player saw action, including freshmen Jay Graham and Matt Henkel, who made their debuts, as did reliever Nick Nelson.
Earlier This Year vs. the Big Red
With Dartmouth still reeling from a rough 2-10 start to the season against nationally ranked LSU and three strong California teams, Cornell showed no mercy in taking two at Hoy Field. Connor Kaufmann tossed the first no-hitter for the Big Red in 23 years, defeating sophomore Mitch Horacek and Dartmouth, 2-0. Only Joe Sclafani and Dustin Selzer reached base on walks, both of whom were erased as Kaufmann faced the minimum 21 batters in the seven-inning contest. In the second game — delayed a day due to rain — the Big Green scored twice in the third on singles by junior Ennis Coble and freshman Matt Robinson, but Cornell scored one in the fifth and sixth, then two in the seventh and an insurance run in the eighth as Rick Marks and closer Kellen Urbon kept the Dartmouth bats in check after that third inning.
Overall Record vs. Cornell
• Dartmouth has squared off against the Big Red 167 times, owning an 89-77-1 record.
• The Big Green have won 17 of the past 24 meetings, dating back to the 2002 season. That includes the 2009 Ivy Championship Series, which the Green won, two games to one.
• Dartmouth head coach Bob Whalen has a 30-19 mark in games against Cornell.
• The first games in the series took place on April 10-11, 1906, with Cornell winning both contests.
Scouting the Big Red
• Cornell got off to a fantastic start this year, winning 24 of its first 32 games, but have since only won five of its last 12. And at home, the Big Red have been a .500 club with a 7-7 record.
• This team relies heavily on its pitching staff, which boasts the lowest ERA in the league by nearly three-quarters of a run at 3.69, with an even lower 3.55 ERA against Ivy competition.
• The offense, on the other hand, has performed quite well in non-conference play, averaging 6.75 runs in those 24 games. But that figure drops to 4.6 runs per game in the Ivy League with the lowest batting average in the league at .252.
• Chris Cruz (11 HR) and Brian Billigen (5 HR) are the leading power sources for Cornell, while Frank Hager leads the team with 13 doubles.
• The Big Red have been one of the better fielding teams in the league with a .964 fielding percentage.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• Dartmouth has leaned to the left all year, and that won’t change in Ithaca. Taking the mound in game one for the Big Green will be sophomore LHP (4-2, 4.67), who pitched well in his loss to Cornell a month ago, yielding a season-low two runs over six innings. Junior LHP Kyle Hunter (2-4, 6.65) is a good bet to toe the slab in the second game on Saturday, despite a hiccup in his last outing in which he surrendered seven runs in three innings, the shortest start of his career. Prior to that, he had allowed just one run in his previous 14 frames and also won the championship clincher as a freshman in 2010 at Columbia. Should the series go three games for a fifth straight year, freshman LHP (4-1, 4.78) will likely to get the game ball. The Big Green won each of his five Ivy starts this year. Neither Hunter nor Frank pitched against Cornell in 2012.
• Cornell has three starters — all right-handed — that posted ERAs under three against Ivy competition, so those will almost undoubtedly be the three that will start against the Green. What order is unknown, however, but although he got shelled last week against Princeton, I’ll guess RHP Connor Kaufmann (6-2, 4.18), he of the no-hitter versus Dartmouth last month, in game one. For game two, let’s go with RHP Rick Marks (4-3, 2.70), who doesn’t strike many hitters out, but does not allow much solid contact, either. Game three could turn into a battle of rookies on the mound with freshman RHP Brian McAfee (6-0, 3.38) still available. He has walked just six batters in 56 innings all season, one of the best rates in the country.
Rolfe Division Champions!
For the fifth straight year and eighth time in the past 13 seasons, Dartmouth has claimed the Rolfe Division as its own. The eighth division titles match Harvard for the second most in the divisional era (since 1993), trailing only Princeton, which has won 11. Should the Big Green win this series, it would be their 13th conference title (both EIBL and Ivy) and third in the past four years.
Ivy Team of the Millennium
Having won eight of 13 division titles since 2000, it should come as no surprise that Dartmouth sports the best record in the league in that span with a 161-99 (.619) record. Princeton is next at 154-106 (.592), while the closest Rolfe Division competitor is Brown at 142-118 (.546).
Keller Academic All-District
With a 3.95 grade-point average and a .385 batting average, sophomore outfielder was selected to the Capital One Academic All-District I Baseball Team, becoming the first Big Green player chosen to the first team in at least 10 years. Keller leads the Ivy League in on-base percentage at .472 and is second in batting. In each of the last two years, Sam Bean ’11 was named to the second team.
Carlson Can’t Be Stopped
Senior Jake Carlson has been next to unstoppable at the plate since April 14, raising his average 130 points to a league-leading .398 by going 30-for-52 (.577) over the last 15 games with a .622 on-base percentage. He has hit safely in 14 of those games with 11 multi-hit games, all from the nine-hole in the order.
For the last 21 games, sophomore has been drilling the baseball to the tune of a .413 average with five doubles, two triples, five homers and 32 RBIs. The first baseman has scored 24 runs, reached base in exactly half of his plate appearances and owns a .733 slugging percentage.
Brooks Wallace Watch List
Senior was one of 50 shortstops named to the watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award, given to the nation’s top shortstop. Players from 17 different conferences, including seven each from the Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference, are among those included, but Sclafani is the only one from the Ivy League. He is a career .945 fielder at short and holds Dartmouth records for assists in a season (162) and a career (504). At the plate, Sclafani owns the Ivy League record with 19 career triples, the Dartmouth all-time record with 97 walks, and is second on the school’s charts for hits (218) and runs scored (163). He needs just nine more hits to set a new Big Green standard.