With a stormy Sunday forecast, the Jackets played two against the Dartmouth Big Green Saturday after beating them Friday 10-0 to improve their record to 3-2. Dartmouth last played at Russ Chandler in the 1987 Regional, but didn’t face the Jackets. Freshman LHP Brant Hurter started for Tech, since the coaches were not happy with last weekend’s outing by Jonathan Hughes. Hurter had faced three batters unsuccessfully last weekend against Bradley but is highly regarded from practice. The Big Green countered with LHP Michael Parsons, like Hurter making his first start.
Tech got the win, but it wasn’t easy and they had to come from behind more than once to win a 21 run, 29 hit game.
Chase Murray went deep to right center in the bottom of the 1st, giving Hurter an early lead. But Dartmouth struck back with two in the 2nd on a single walk and two out double by leadoff batter Trevor Johnson.
The Jackets pounded out their second, third, and fourth homeruns of the game in a productive 2nd, by Kel Johnson, Austin Wilhite, and Chase Murray again (with two on) to score five runs and make it 6-2. But, Hurter couldn’t make it through the bottom of the 3rd, and turned the mound over to Jake Lee with two outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. He had given up six hits, plus some long fly outs. Lee got a strikeout to end the threat. Dartmouth also went to the bullpen, bringing in Michael Parsons, a sophomore LHP.
Jake Lee ran into the same kind of trouble he had in his start last Saturday in the fourth. He gave up two runs on four hits, one of them a double by Kyle Holbrook, making him 3-3. But, the Jackets struck back on a two run triple by Tristen English in the bottom of the fifth, driving in Murray and Bart.
Jake Lee was relieved by Keyton Gibson with two out, two on and one run scored in the top of the 6th. Gibson gave up an RBI single and three run homerun to right center by Nate Ostmo. The Big Green suddenly had a 9-8 lead, Tech’s pitching inconsistencies showing. Senior RHP Jack Fossand came into try and hold Dartmouth’s lead in the Tech 6th. The Jackets squandered a leadoff double by Colin Hall when Serratos and Guldberg popped up and Bailey grounded out.
Colin Hall came through with a big two RBI single in the 7th to retake the lead 10-9 and Jared Datoc came in to pitch the 8th, which he did in order. Tech got two big insurance runs in their 8th, both with two outs. Bailey scored on a wild pitch and Kel Johnson legged out a single to 3rd, scoring Bart. Datoc came back with more leeway, but didn’t need it and retired the Big Green in order for the 12-9 win. Gibson got the win, Fossand the loss, and Datoc the save in the first game.
The Jackets pulled out all the stops on offense in game two, scoring 11 runs on 19 hits to make 33 runs for the series. Pitching was mostly good, shutting down Dartmouth after a couple of rough innings early.
Freshman RHP Hugh Chapman made his first appearance versus senior RHP Clay Chatham. The Big Green came out swinging, getting a single and double by the first two batters. Chapman recovered, however, with a RBI groundout, strikeout, and groundout to limit the damage to one run.
Tech ran themselves out of a run in their 1st, Bailey caught by a perfect throw to 3rd as he tried to stretch a single by Murray into two bases. English then got another single, but the Jackets never scored despite three base runners. Chapman ran into more hot bats in the 2nd, with a walk, single, double, another single and walk before he was relieved by Andy Archer with two outs and two on, trailing 4-0. Wade Bailey prevented further damage with a diving stop on a grounder that looked to be getting through.
The Jackets cut the lead to 4-3 in their 3rd, scoring two on a double by English (who was thrown out at 3rd). McCann then homered to right; but the Jackets had now lost two potential runs thrown out at third base. Wade Bailey redeemed himself in the Tech 4th by driving in Luke Waddell to tie it at four. But, in this see-saw game, the Big Green immediately took the lead back when Bailey threw away a grounder, allowing a run with two outs.
The Jackets played long ball again in their 5th, with English ending Chatham’s outing by homering to left and Kyle McCann greeting reliever Marc Bachman with his own homer to dead center off the batter’s eye. With Tech leading 6-5, Jonathan Hughes came into pitch the 6th and retired Dartmouth in order. The Jackets piled on in their 6th, with singles by Murray, Bart, and English followed by Kyle McCann’s third homer of the game, this one bouncing off the top of the batter’s eye and over. It’s the first time I’ve seen that happen since A. J. Murray did it a couple of years ago. Tech led 10-5 and Hughes came back out to get three straight 6-3 groundouts in the 7th.
After Austen Michel pitched for the Green in the Tech 7th without incident, Hughes walked the leadoff batter and allowed him to take 2nd on a wild pitch, but then picked him off with a nice spin move. The Jackets added an eleventh run on Joey Bart’s RBI single in their 8th and Oscar Serratos came into pitch the 9th. He retired the Big Green around a pinch hit single and Tech won 11-5 to get the sweep to move to 5-2. Andy Archer got the win, Bachman the loss.
The offensive heroics were numerous, Chase Murray batting 8 for 10 on the day, including two homers in the first game; Kyle McCann slugging three home runs in the second game; Tristin English hitting for the cycle over the DH; and solo home runs by Austin Wilhite and Kel Johnson. The pitching performances of Andy Archer in both games, Jared Datoc in game one, and Jonathan Hughes in the second game are all praiseworthy. There were only a handful of walks compared with last weekend’s far too many. The defense mostly played clean. Dartmouth never quit and showed tremendous offensive potential, they should have a good season.
The negatives are limited to neither freshman starting pitcher being very effective or long lasting, but I suspect the coaches are happy they both got some experience and will learn.