Broom Ball: Crimson Sweeps Yale In Tuesday Twinbill

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard remained in the race for an Ivy League Rolfe Division title Tuesday afternoon as the Crimson swept Yale by scores of 7-4 and 3-2 at O’Donnell Field.

Harvard received a three-run homer from Chris Rouches in the fifth inning of game one and an RBI single from Harry Douglas in the ninth inning of the nightcap to improve to 8-4 in league play, three games behind first place Dartmouth (11-1). With the losses, Yale falls to 5-7 in the league.

Harvard returns to action this weekend with a pivotal four-game set at Brown, which also sits at 8-4 in the league.

In the first game, Yale scored a pair of unearned runs in the first inning when the Crimson could not field a sacrifice bunt attempt and the Elis parlayed the extra opportunity into a pair of RBI singles. A leadoff single in the second paved the way for Yale to make the score 3-0 with a one-out sacrifice fly to right.

Harvard scratched for a two-out run in the third when Taylor Meehan fought off a tough 0-2 pitch and flipped a line drive single into left. With runners on first and second however, the inning ended on a caught stealing, allowing Yale to escape further damage.

Yale starter Vinny Lally ran into trouble in the fourth when he walked two batters and hit a third to start the inning. Dillon O'Neill followed with a line drive double to the gap to tie the game and chase the Bulldogs’ lefty from the game with no outs. After a pitching change, Rouches gave the Crimson its first lead with a liner through the left side but reliever Chris Finneran worked out of further trouble with a bases loaded popup, strikeout and grounder.

Working against Harvard reliever Dan Berardo, Trygg Larsson-Danforth tied the game in the top of the fifth when a two-out, seeing-eye grounder up the middle to score Gant Elmore who had doubled to right with one out.

Finneran ran into some trouble in the bottom of the fifth when he issued a no-out and a two-out walk. Yale went to sidewinder Robert Gruber out of the bullpen to face Rouches with two outs. Rouches turned on Gruber’s first offering and belted a three-run homer over the left field wall to give the home side a 7-4 advantage.

Those runs held up as Berardo worked his way through two innings of relief to earn the win while Tom Stack-Babich came in from right field to throw a scoreless seventh inning for the save.

In the second game, Harvard’s Conner Hulse locked arms with Yale’s Andy Magee in a pitcher’s duel with each righty controlling the game with the exception of one inning.

Hulse’s only real blemish came in the third inning when he issued a two-out walk to bring up Larsson-Danforth in the cleanup position. Larsson-Danforth connected with a first pitch fastball and deposited it over the left field wall for an opposite field shot.

In the bottom of the frame, Magee saw consistent control problems hurt him when he allowed two runs on three walks, including a bases loaded walk, and a passed ball.

Both pitchers remained in control from that point on until Magee was pulled in the sixth inning after allowing five hits with six walks and 108 pitchers. Hulse lasted into the ninth before walking Larsson-Danforth on a full count to start the inning. After striking out seven and scattering five hits, Hulse gave way to Will Keuper who got an out on a popup and then threw an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play with Douglas and Meehan making a fine turn. Moments later Keuper would emerge with his second win in three days versus Yale after finishing the weekend with 2.1 innings of one-hit relief.

In the bottom of the ninth, Yale reliever Eric Shultz got a strikeout to start the inning but cost himself an out with O’Neill at the plate. O’Neill bounced a chopper in front of the mound and the submarine-throwing Shultz could not make the overhand throw to first, instead throwing it into right field and allowing O’Neill to go to second. Yale intentionally walked Meehan who was enjoying a two-hit nightcap to set up a force play. Instead, Douglas drove a 1-2 pitch into right field to score O’Neill.

The win marked Harvard’s fourth win of the season in its final at bat with three of them coming in the past two weeks at home in Ivy League play.

Douglas and Meehan had two hits apiece while no Yale batter had two hits in either game.