June 6, 2010

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CBI Live
Texas A&M rallies past Dartmouth

By Christina De Nicola

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


Through seven innings it looked as though Dartmouth might win its second postseason game after waiting 23 years in between its last.


But Kevin Gonzalez hit a solo home run to left field in the top of the ninth to give Texas A&M a 4-3 win over the Big Green in an elimination game at the Coral Gables Regional at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.


Gonzalez, who pinch-hit for starting catcher Gregg Alcazar in the seventh, connected on his eighth homer of the season for the game winner off of the Ivy League’s all-time saves leader Ryan Smith (3-2).


Smith went 2.2 innings and allowed two runs on two hits, both solo shots, for the loss.


“Both of them were fastballs. The first one I just left it up, got it to the outside corner, but good teams like that will make you pay,” Smith said. “The second one, I got behind 3-2 and didn’t want to walk the leadoff hitter, so I left it over the plate a little bit.”


Starter Kyle Hunter, who pitched two innings yesterday, was superb for the Big Green (27-19), allowing just two runs on four hits in 6.1 innings with seven strikeouts.


“Today I just came in and knew I was going to be on a short pitch count for physical reasons,” Hunter said. “I just tried to make them get themselves out early in the count and not throw a lot of pitches.”


Trailing 3-2 in the eighth, Joe Patterson connected on his ninth homer, a solo shot to left, to tie the game up for the Aggies (42-20-1).


Dartmouth had come into today’s game 23-0 when leading after six innings.


Following a 67-minute rain delay Chris O’Dowd led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a groundout to the pitcher and went to third on a single through the hole by Zack Bellenger.


With runners at the corners, second baseman Adam Smith threw out Jake Carlson, who drove in a run earlier, on a backhand for the final out to end the threat.


The Big Green stranded nine total runners, including two in the bottom of the ninth.


After collecting two quick strikeouts on 97-mph fastballs, John Stilson (9-1) faced some trouble when he walked Joe Sclafani and Sam Bean dropped a hit in front of the left fielder to put runners on the corners.


Stilson, who pitched three scoreless innings of three-hit ball when he came into the game in the seventh, got O’Dowd on four pitches to strike out the side and send Texas A&M into a game against Miami (42-17).


Dartmouth sent eight batters to the plate and took a 3-2 lead in the fourth with three runs on three hits and a botched double play on an errant throw by Smith.


After Jason Brooks singled to center with one out, Smith’s turn went into left field and put runners at second and third. Following a walk of Zack Bellenger to load the bases, Carlson blooped an RBI single to right.


Brett Gardner, the ninth batter, lined a ball through the hole at short for a two-out two-run single.


“When people make mistakes you get extra outs from teams and good teams make you pay,” Gardner said. “It can be any of us. We’re a complete team. A different guy does the job every day. I just happened to be in that spot.”


Texas A&M got on the board in the first when Matt Juengel produced with a two-out RBI bloop double and Brodie Green sent a ball over the left-field wall to make the score 2-0 for his 14th homer of the year.


“When the season comes to an end, at some point this summer in the middle of nowhere in a corn field where I’ll be driving at about 3 o’clock in the morning to find the next group of guys it’ll come to me that we had a really tremendous year,” Dartmouth head coach Bob Whalen said.