Pictured: Chris Rouches had a big day for the Crimson at Dartmouth on Sunday but it was not enough as the team was eliminated on the last day of the league season.
HANOVER, N.H. – The Harvard baseball team took the Red Rolfe Division title chase to the final day of Ivy League play on Sunday but was eliminated by the Big Green, which took a pair of games on its home field by scores of 9-0 and 9-7.
For Harvard (17-25, 10-10 Ivy), the future looks bright as the Crimson played in Sunday's meaningful doubleheader despite a host of pitching injuries and a roster with just two senior letterwinners. The Crimson completes its season on Wednesday at Boston College.
Dartmouth (23-15, 13-7 Ivy) advances to the Ivy League Championship Series where it will play at Columbia next weekend. The Big Green took away the chance for more dramatics early in the first game and cruised, 9-0.
After a dominant 1-2-3 first inning for Harvard's Dan Zailskas (0-1), making his first start of the season, things went badly in the second. The first two pitches of the inning resulted in a single and a hit batsman and Jason Brooks followed with a three-run homer on a 2-1 breaking ball to give the Big Green an early momentum shot.
Brooks delivered again in the bottom of the third after another hit batsman, this one with two outs, saw him follow with a double to the gap in right-center for an important 4-0 lead.
Dartmouth struck again with two outs in the fourth after Harvard went to the bullpen as Sam Beam lined a 1-1 pitch inside the first base bag for a two-run triple and a 6-0 lead. Brooks then delivered a two-run triple to right in the fifth for an 8-0 run as Dartmouth pulled away, scoring another run in the sixth inning
Kyle Hendricks (4-4) used a quick-pitch strategy to keep Harvard hitters off balance as he faced the minimum through six innings with only a line drive hit by Chris Rouches against him. Jeff Reynolds singled in the seventh and stole second but that was all for the Crimson would get.
Both teams contended with an extremely wide strike zone in the second game but got the bats going late. Harvard banged out 14 hits but could not hold a 6-3 lead as Dartmouth scored five times in the eighth to win it.
After falling behind, Dillon O'Neill plated a run in the second inning with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 1-1. A walk and a crucial throwing error on a pickoff attempt from Andrew Ferreira led to two Dartmouth runs in the fifth to break the tie.
Harvard got the bats going in the seventh, scoring five times on five hits to claim a 6-3 lead. Zailskas led off with a hustle double to left field and Rouches followed with a gapper to the wall in left-center to make it a 3-2 game. Dillon O'Neill followed with a single through the left side to put runners at the corners and a wild pitch tied the game. Reynolds then singled sharply to center field, again putting runners on the corners. Sam Franklin drove an 0-1 pitch through the left side for a 4-3 lead. Sean O'Hara reached on a fielder's choice where Dartmouth second baseman Ennis Coble failed to record an out and the bases were loaded with one out. Tyler Albright fought back from a pair of tough strike calls to loft a sacrifice fly to right field. Harvard then pulled off a double steal with Franklin scoring at home and O'Hara moving to third on a throwing error home.
Working against reliever Dan Berardo, Dartmouth got a run back in the bottom of the frame on a leadoff triple from Ennis and an RBI ground out from Matt Peterson.
Harvard answered with two outs in the eighth as Danny Moskovits laced a double to the gap in left and came around on a triple to the gap from O'Neill to make it 7-4.
In the bottom of the frame, consecutive doubles for Dartmouth chased Berardo in favor of Joey Novak (1-3). Brooks greeted Novak with an RBI single through the left side to make it a 7-6 game. A throwing error loaded the bases with one out and Peterson regained the lead for Dartmouth when his slow dribbler inside the third base bag resulted in a two-run double and an 8-7 lead. Following another pitching change, David Turnbull plated an unearned run with an infield single.
Harvard was unable to push the needed runs across in the top of the ninth despite getting a runner on. Reynolds, Franklin, Zailskas, O'Neill, O'Hara and Rouches all had multiple hits for the Crimson.