CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Fielding woes and misfortune combined as the Harvard baseball team dropped both games of an Ivy League Rolfe Division doubleheader to the visiting Brown Bears at O'Donnell Field on Sunday. Brown won the opener 10-3 and took the nightcap by a score of 7-1.
The teams will complete their four-game series Monday at 1 p.m. on O'Donnell Field.
In the first game, Ryan Zrenda was 3-for-3 with a home run and the Bears rode starter Kevin Carlow to a complete game win behind 121 pitches.
Carlow worked out of a first inning jam when, after Harvard loaded the bases with one out, Tyler Albright lined sharply directly to shortstop and into an inning-ending double play.
Brown jumped out in the third inning as a leadoff walk and a one-out error on a routine double play ball allowed Brown to break things open at 3-0. Cody Slaughter produced a two-run double to the gap in right-center and Matt Colantonio plated Slaughter with a single up the middle.
More fielding woes hurt the Crimson in the fourth as a high foul ball fell safely for Zrenda and he followed two pitches later with a solo homer in a rain-delayed inning. Following an 18-minute delay, Matt Doyle relived Eric Eadington and worked out of a bases-loaded jam to keep it a four-run game.
Harvard got things going in the bottom of the fourth as Sean O'Hara led off with a ringing triple to right and scored on a double to right from Albright. Sam Franklin plated a run with a ground out and a third Harvard run came home on a wild pitch to make it a 4-3 game.
The Crimson gave it right back in the fifth as Brown scored three times without a hit. A leadoff error, hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases with no outs and forced the Crimson to the bullpen once again. Will Keuper came on in relief and got a pop-out before walking in a run. A routine double play ball saw the Crimson get a force out at second, but an errant throw allowed another run to score, making it 7-3.
Brown put the game away in the top of the seventh with three more runs as Mike DiBiase and Chris Tanabe delivered RBIs for a 10-3 lead.
Harvard was led by Jeff Reynolds who was 2-for-4.
In the second game, Harvard pitchers routinely worked behind in the count and Brown took advantage of its opportunities in a 13-hit attack led by Chris Tanabe, who was 4-for-4 with a hit-bpitch.
Brown scored a run in the first on a wild pitch. The score went to 2-0 on a dropped fly ball with two outs in the second. In the fourth, Brown benefitted again as Harvard could not turn a double play, scoring its third run on a one-out fielder's choice.
Harvard threatened in the fifth as Dan Zailskas and Franklin produced one-out singles. Brown caught a break as Dillon O'Neill laced a liner but right at its center fielder for the second out. Will Weidig then got pinch hitter Brent Suter on a strikeout to end the threat.
The breaks kept coming for Brown as the Bears scored twice more in the seventh for a 5-0 lead. With one out and a runner at second, reliever Joey Novak got Josh Feit swinging at a third strike but the ball bounced away from Albright and everyone was safe with runners at the corners. A would-be inning ending groundout turned into an RBI fielder's choice and Slaughter followed with an RBI single to left.
Harvard loaded the bases in the eighth to chase Weidig from the game. Albright and Marcus Way singled to lead off and Franklin was hit by a 3-2 fastball to bring in Andy Backowski to face O'Neill. Backowski walked O'Neill on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run but got out of further trouble with a pair of strikeouts in a 5-1 game.
In the top of the ninth, a pair of singles and an error forced an intentional walk to load the bases for the Bears, who followed by scoring two runs on a hit batsman and a sacrifice fly for a 7-1 lead.
Backowski worked a scoreless ninth to earn his first save of the season while Weidig got the win with his 6.1 effective innings.