Pictured: Marcus Way (Kevin Burns)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Two well-pitched games on both sides saw Harvard come away on the losing end of two Ivy League games at O'Donnell Field on Saturday as Princeton defeated the Crimson by scores of 5-3 and 3-1.
Princeton, which improves to 6-0 in Ivy play this season (12-13 overall) needed a last-inning five-run rally and some help from the sun to win the opener before rising a 122-pitch effort from ace Zak Hermans to win the nightcap.
In the first game, Eric Eadington (0-4) cruised through the first six innings, scattering three hits while striking out six while Harvard (0-6 Ivy) took a 3-0 lead behind a two-run homer and RBI double from designated hitter Marcus Way.
Eadington got the first out of the seventh inning and got ahead of Mike Ford in the count, 1-2, before Ford guided an outside fastball to left for a one-out double. Nat Baird followed with an RBI single up the middle to make it 3-1 and Alex Flink double down the left field line to put the tying run in scoring position. Batting out of the eight-hole, Tom Boggiano singled sharply up the middle to tie the game. Harvard went to the bullpen and Ben Sestanovich induced a ground out that moved Boggiano to second. After a walk, pitcher Matt Bowman (2-3) squibbed a ball to no-man's land near third to load the bases. Will Keuper came on to face fellow lefty John Mishu and did his job, inducing a routine fly ball to center hat should have ended the inning. The glaring sun got in the way however, and Dillon O'Neill couldn't come up with the ball as it instead fell for a go-ahead two-run double for the final margin.
Bowman struck out seven and did not walk a batter to earn the win while also collecting two hits to lead the Tigers.
In the second game, Hermans (CG, 5 hits, 7 strikeouts) locked up in a duel with Harvard ace Max Perlman (L, 1-4, 6.1 IP, 6 hits, 6 K).
Princeton struck in the thirds inning, utilizing a bizarre play to claim a 1-0 lead. Bowmna led off with a single through the left side and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Sam Mulroy bounced a harmless grounder to third base but two Crimson fielders ran into each other and Mulroy beat the tardy throw to first to put runners on the corners with one out. Ford followed with a sacrifice fly and a 1-0 lead.
Harvard tied the game in the fourth as Jeff Reynolds doubled down the left field line with one out and alertly took third base on a second-out groundout. Reynolds scored on a wild pitch that came on Hermans' 37th pitch of the game and just his sixth non-strike of the early going. Hermans would need to work out of several more jams to get the win.
In the fifth, Harvard loaded the bases with two outs but he got a grounder to third to end the threat; in the seventh Harvard got runners on first and second but Hermans got consecutive strikeouts to wiggle out of that jam; in the eighth, Harvard put runners on second and third following a double steal but Hermans got a strikeout to get out of that trouble; in the ninth he worked around a leadoff double and ended the game with strikeouts against a pair of pinch hitters.
Princeton went ahead against Perlman in the seventh. A leadoff single by the number-nine batter, Bob Geren, was followed by a sacrifice bunt. Bowman singled to center to drive in a run and he came around on a double by Mulroy.
Keuper again came out of the bullpen for the Crimson and was steady, going 2.2 innings without allowing a base runner while striking out three.
Reynolds had two hits while Jake McGuiggan had a pair of doubles in his last two at bats but Hermans would only yield five hits in the game.