Pictured: Brent Suter makes a highlight catch in right field during the second inning of Tuesday's game against Bryant (Rob Rossi).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Two-out hits played an important role Tuesday afternoon as the Bryant Bulldogs topped Harvard by a 5-0 score in the Crimson’s 2010 home opener at O’Donnell Field.
Bryant improves to 10-13 overall while Harvard dips to 9-15. The Crimson opens its home Ivy League slate this weekend with doubleheaders against Penn and Columbia at O’Donnell Field.
The game served a pitching duel between Bryant’s Eric Polvani and Harvard’s Joey Novak with the Bulldogs separating themselves with clutch hitting.
Bryant broke a scoreless tie in the fourth thanks to a two-out walk and a wild pitch followed by a line drive double to the right-center gap from Zakary Cianciolo.
In the top of the fifth, Bryant scored again with two outs as Kevin Brown took a 1-1 fastball off his shoes and golfed a high drive over the right field wall for a 2-0 lead.
Novak hurt himself with two outs in the sixth. With one out, Nick Campbell dribbled an infield single in front of the mound. He advanced to second on a ground out and then went to third on a wild pitch. Novak then walked Cianciolo on four pitches before lofting an errant a throw over the head of first baseman Dan Zailskas on a failed pickoff attempt, allowing Campbell to score an unearned run.
In the seventh, Tim Norton led off with a clean hit to left and caught the Crimson sleeping as he hustled into second with a double. Two batters later, Brown hit a low liner that took a bad hop past Zailskas at first, skipping down the right field line for an RBI double and a 4-0 lead.
Harvard saw a good opportunity go for naught in the third as Kyle Larrow and Sam Franklin led off with singles but the Crimson could not get a sacrifice bunt down with Larrow being forced at third. What followed were a fly out to deep right and a sharp grounder that was flagged for the final out.
In the seventh, an error and a walk again put runners on with no outs for the Crimson but Polvani got a double play ball and a strikeout to keep the Crimson at bay.
In the eighth, Dylan Stone fisted a 2-1 fastball through the left side for a one-out single and moved to third on a crisp single to center from Cianciolo. Another failed pickoff allowed Stone to score the fifth run as Cianciolo moved all the way to third.
In the bottom of the eighth, Harvard had two men on base again, forcing Bryant to the bullpen in favor of John Ryan with two outs. Sean O’Hara drilled a 3-1 fastball to center but Campbell made a diving catch to keep the shutout intact.
Despite getting the loss Novak pitched well, going 6.2 innings and allowing seven hits with four strikeouts.
Polvani went 7.2 innings, scattering five hits with two walks and four strikeouts as he improved to 2-4 on the season.