In an undefeated week, the baseball team (17-8, 3-3) defeated Division I Dartmouth College (12-21, 6-9), 15-7, on Tuesday, April 16, for the first time since 1950 and beat SUNY Plattsburgh (10-17, 5-10) 17-1 the following day.
Middlebury had 18 hits by 11 different players and stole eight bases during the game, four coming from first-year right fielder Alec Ritch. The Panthers unleashed a six-run sixth inning to establish a 14-7 lead over the Big Green. Left fielder Justin Han ’20 capped the inning with a base-clearing triple.
According to director of baseball operations, Jack Langerman ’19, the team was successful by not trying to do too much.
“We are a really good baseball team, 1-34 on the roster, and at times early in the year that added stress because we tried to do too much,” Langerman said. “When we relaxed and trusted ourselves, the results spoke for themselves.”
Middlebury wasted no time taking the lead, when junior catcher Gray Goolsby hit his first home run of the year for a quick 3-0 lead in the first frame. Dartmouth chipped into Middlebury’s lead with a run from senior shortstop Nate Ostmo.
The Panthers responded with two runs on a hit batter, walk, a double steal, wild pitch and infield hit in the third. First-year second baseman Andrew Gough rapped out a triple, and Han added a single to drive in two runs in the top of the fourth. Junior third baseman Hayden Smith hit an RBI double in the fifth to make the lead 8-4.
The team’s pitching staff held the Dartmouth bats scoreless for the final four frames. Sophomore pitcher Evan Stewart received his first win of the season on 1.2 shutout innings of relief.
Han went 4-for-6 with four RBIs to lead the team in the leadoff spot for the Panthers. Senior center fielder Sam Graf added a pair of hits, three runs, and two RBIs. Dartmouth was held to just six hits and stranded 13 runners.
“A win against a Division I team is huge as it’s our first win against them [Dartmouth] since 1950,” Langerman said. “At the end of the day, however, we know we are a good team, and we know if we play how we can, we have a chance to win against anyone.”
In a 17-1 non-conference win versus Plattsburgh, the Cardinals recorded just five hits to the Panthers’ 19.
Middlebury scored in seven different innings in the win with thirteen different Panthers recording hits. Junior shortstop Brooks Carroll went 2-for-3 with a game-high five RBIs for Middlebury and Gough went 3-for-4 with three runs.
First-year pitcher Alex Rosario earned his first career win, retiring his first 13 batters, only giving up two hits over six innings with four strikeouts and no walks. First-year Jackson Atwood got the save on three innings of relief, giving up one run on three hits.
The Panthers return to action at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 24 at home against Plymouth State (11-17 overall), followed by a NESCAC West matchup versus Wesleyan University beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 26 at home.
“The season is in front of us,” Langerman said. “These next games will be what defines our season, especially the six in the NESCAC. If we show up and play how everybody knows we can, there’s no reason why NESCACs won’t end in a dog pile in Waterville, Maine. That being said, we have a lot of work to do and have to keep at it.”