CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard baseball team (16-16, 6-5 Ivy) earned a sweep of day one against the Brown Bears (7-22, 3-11 Ivy) this afternoon at O'Donnell Field. After posting a narrow 3-1 victory in game one, the Crimson secured game two in walk-off fashion. With the wins, Harvard has taken ownership of the season series with Brown, and will compete for a series sweep in its single game tomorrow afternoon.
Five different Crimson batters posted averages over .300 on the day, including .500s from Buddy Mrowka, Patrick Robinson and Jake Allen. Mrowka also tallied a team-high four hits and three RBI. Patrick McColl and Ben Skinner stole two bases a piece while McColl registered 20 put-outs.
On the hill, Noah Zavolas posted his second standout performance in two outings. Fresh off his no-hitter at Yale, Zavolas threw eight innings in game one and totaled 11 strikeouts (one shy of his career high) while allowing zero runs and just four hits. The senior held Brown to a .154 batting average in the series opener. Kieran Shaw
Game One: Harvard 3, Brown 1 (9 Innings)
The teams were slow to start the day, only scoring four runs combined in the series opener. Harvard took a 3-0 lead through the fourth and held Brown scoreless until the ninth when the Bears managed to get on the board and deny the shutout. Buddy Mrowka led the Crimson with two RBI in the bottom of the fourth while Jake Allen and Patrick McColl manned the defense, registering 11 and 10 putouts respectively.
In his first appearance since last weekend's no-hitter at Yale, Noah Zavolas shined for Harvard, throwing eight innings and 11 strikeouts. The Acton, Mass. native did not allow a single run and held Brown to four hits and a .154 batting average.
Buddy Mrowka extended the Crimson's lead to 3-0 when he knocked in two runs with a hit to center. With Austin Black and Hunter Bigge gunning for home, Mrowka breezed by first base and was tagged out at second, giving Black and Bigge enough space to reach.
Harvard would stand tough for the next four innings, denying the Bears an opportunity to score. Then with one out in the ninth, Garett Delano got Brown on the board with a home run to center field. Harvard ended the inning and game one when Jake Allen and Matt Rothenberg tag teamed to catch Parke Phillips stealing second.
Game Two: Harvard 8, Brown 7 (9 Innings)
On the back end of the twin bill, Brown was able to put more pressure on Harvard. After the Crimson took a 5-2 and 6-3 lead, the Bears chipped back, scoring in each of the final three innings to tie the game heading into the bottom of the ninth. After Trent Bryan was subbed to pinch run for Hunter Bigge, Buddy Mrowka and Matt Rothenberg combined efforts to drive Bryan home to capture the walk-off victory. Patrick Robinson went a perfect two-for-two at the plate while Mrowka connected on three of four attempts.
Jake Suddleson put the Crimson up 1-0 and put himself in scoring position when he singled down the left field line and advanced to second on the throw in the bottom of the first. Austin Black backed the play up with a double of his own to left field, giving Suddleson enough room to score.
The Bears struck back in the second, tying the score at two when Joe Lumusico sent a two-run bomb to left field.
Hunter Bigge registered the only triple of the day in the third inning, ripping the ball to left field to send in Patrick Robinson and Austin Black. When Buddy Mrowka stepped up to the plate as the next batter, he doubled down the right field line making it effortless for Bigge to score.
Brown made a dent in the deficit in the top of the fifth, capitalizing on a Harvard error that put Brian Ginsberg in position to score.
Brown made its move in the seventh, eighth and ninth to tie the score and put Harvard's back against the wall on the back end of the final frame. The Bears took one run back in the seventh when Cameron Deere was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. In the eighth, Brian Ginsberg grounded out to second, but Joe Lomuscio reached from third to cut the deficit to one.
Harvard took its turn to capitalize on a Brown error when Patrick McColl flied out to right field in the bottom of the eighth. Ben Skinner advanced to third and was able to put the Crimson back up by two when Joe Lomuscio mishandled a throw, sending the ball into the Crimson dugout.
With game two on the line, the Bears made a last-ditch attempt and tied the score in the top of the ninth. Cameron Deere put Brown down one when he tagged two bases on a Harvard throwing error and then scored on a Joe Lomuscio single to right field. One batter later, Brian Ginsberg grounded out but created enough space for Hunter Carey to score the game-tying run.
In the final shot at bat, Harvard rallied to earn the walk-off win in dramatic fashion. Brown made three defensive changes in an attempt to combat the Crimson offense, but Hunter Bigge stepped up to the plate and knocked off a single to left field to open the inning. Trent Bryan was sent to pinch run for Bigge at first, and Buddy Mrowka sent him off with a sacrifice bunt. Knowing where the scoreboard was at, Bryan took a risky run towards third, and reached safely after sliding face first into the base. With victory in sight, Matt Rothenberg hit a fly ball to center field, driving in Bryan to win game two 8-7 for the home team.
Harvard will return to O'Donnell Field tomorrow at 1 p.m. for the final game of the Brown series. Prior to the game, a dedication ceremony will occur for the new baseball and softball hitting facility located between the two fields. The ceremony is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. with a short speaking program followed by softball vs. Dartmouth at 12:30 p.m.