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Baseball Swept by Columbia

Pictured: Sean O'Hara had three hits in the nightcap on Sunday. (Gil Talbot)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard baseball dropped a pair of Ivy League games to Gehrig Division-leader Columbia on Sunday at O’Donnell Field. Columbia routed the Crimson in the opener, 24-1 before scoring seven unanswered runs in the nightcap to win 7-4.

Harvard (10-17, 4-4 Ivy) sits 2.0 games behind Rolfe Division leader Brown entering next weekend’s four-game series at O’Donnell Field. Columbia improves to 15-13 overall and 6-2 in the Ancient eight with the win.   

In the first game, Columbia took advantage of a howling wind blowing out to right field as the Lions lofted four homers in a rout of the Crimson. Nick Ferraresi and Jason Banos hit three-run homers early in the game and Dario Pizzano had a two run job while Alex Aurrichio contribued a two-run single in the second inning as the Lions never trailed.

Harvard scratched for a run in the third on an RBI ground out by Sam Franklin but the game really got out of control in the fifth as the Crimson bullpen walked home three runs as the Lions scored six times for a 19-1 lead.

Pizzano launched a line drive grand slam in the top of the seventh to make it 24-1. Pizzano was 6-for-6 with six RBI and five runs scored in the game while Banos, Alex Ferrera and Ferraresi all had three hits in the Lions’ 24-hit attack.

In game two, Harvard’s Brent Suter shut down the Columbia bats as he started the game by throwing 31 strikes out of his first 37 pitches. The Crimson took a 4-0 lead but Columbia did its damage against the Crimson bullpen, scoring seven times in the final three innings to win.  

Tyler Albright and Jeff Reynolds drove home Harvard runs with hard singles in the first inning, and a third run crossed the plate on a fielding error. In the third, Sean O’Hara lined a double to the right-center gap to score Franklin, who reached on a fielder’s choice.

Pizzano finally got to Suter in the sixth as the Harvard lefty started falling behind batters after his impressive start. After striking out in his first two at bats, Pizzano took a 2-0 fastball down the right field line for a two-run homer to halve the deficit, 4-2.

Columbia then took the lead against Harvard’s bullpen as two infield singles hurt the Crimson. Nick Cox doubled home Nick Crucet (infield single) and Ferraresi doubled home Cox and Aurrichio (infield single) to make it 5-4.

In the bottom of the frame, singles by Chris Rouches and Franklin put runners in scoring position with two outs after a steal by Franklin. CU reliever Geoff Whitaker (3-3) was able to get out of trouble however by getting a popup. In the eighth, a one-out single by Albright and a field’s choice put him in scoring position but Whitaker again got out of trouble with a pair of hard ground outs.

Dean Forthun staked Columbia to a 7-4 lead in the ninth with his two-out single through the left side. Whitaker got the win after throwing four scoreless innings on four hits, no walks and one strikeout.

Will Keuper (1-2) took the loss as two of the three hits he surrendered in the sixth were the soft infield hits that were sandwiched around extra base safeties.

Suter struck out eight batters in his six innings while scattering seven hits and walking one. Albright, Dillon O’Neill and Jeff Reynolds all had two hits to join O’Hara’s three hits for the Crimson.