By: Rick Bender
TAMPA, Fla. — Freshman Nathan Skinner dazzled for Dartmouth on the mound for six innings, shutting out USF on just one hit, but the Bulls exploded for four runs in the seventh and completed a three-game series sweep on Sunday afternoon at USF Baseball Stadium in a 4-1 victory. Leadoff hitter Jordan Santos provided the winning hit for the Bulls (11-7) with a two-run single.
Skinner had a no-hitter through 5.1 innings for the Big Green (4-8) before Joe Genord stroked a one-out double in the sixth. But the rookie right-hander wasn’t flustered, retiring the next two batters on his fourth strikeout of the day and routine fly to right.
After recording the first out in the seventh, however, Skinner ran into trouble as USF loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk. Junior Michael Parsons was summoned from the bullpen, but he was greeted by Santos with his two-run single to right. A hit batter loaded the bases before Parsons pumped a full-count pitch past the next hitter for the second out. Austin Bodrato, a thorn in Dartmouth’s side all weekend, drove in his seventh and eighth runs of the series with a two-run single of his own for a 4-1 lead.
From there, USF left-handed reliever Noah Yager closed the door, keeping the Big Green hitless over the final five frames with only Trevor Johnson reaching base against him twice, both times on errors. Yager (1-1) struck out six Dartmouth hitters to pick up the win.
The day began well for the Big Green as they produced three consecutive hits in the first inning to score a run. Senior Matt Feinstein stroked a one-out double, took third on a Trevor Johnson single to left and trotted home on Michael Calamari’s safety to center. Dartmouth threatened to add to its early lead after Blake Crossing reached on an error to load the bases, but USF starter Ben Koff got a strikeout and a fly ball to prevent any more runs from scoring.
The Big Green put a runner on third with less than two down in both the third and fourth frames, but could not add to their lead. In the third, Feinstein beat out an infield hit and Calamari doubled him to third one out later. That double turned out to be Dartmouth’s last hit of the afternoon as Koff was able to escape the jam again on an infield pop and a fly to left. The following inning, sophomore Logan Adams was plunked, stole second and took third when the throw down was wild. But a grounder to second could not get him home with a drawn-in infield, and a pop to second ended the threat.
Meanwhile, Skinner allowed just two base runners in the first four innings, retiring the side in order in the first and fourth innings. Although he hit the leadoff batter in the fifth with his first pitch and issued a two-out walk, he kept USF off the board by inducing a fly to center.
Skinner (1-2) was tagged with the loss in spite of his excellent outing, surrendering three runs on three hits and three walks over 6.1 innings, striking out four. Sophomore Max Hunter pitched well in relief as well, getting the final out in the seventh before setting the side down in order in the eighth.
Feinstein and Calamari each had a single and a double for Dartmouth, but the team finished the game with just five hits, as did the Bulls in the pitchers’ duel.
The Big Green have Monday off before concluding their trip to Florida with a three-game series against Bradley. The first game begins at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Florida.