Pictured: Jeff Reynolds tags out Penn's Emilio Pastor in Saturday's first game, won by Harvard, 10-9. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard baseball team banged out 12 hits in both games as the Crimson slugged its way to an Ivy League sweep over the University of Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon at O’Donnell Field. Harvard erased an 8-2 deficit in the opener for a 10-9 victory before outlasting the Quakers, 12-9, in the nightcap.
Harvard (10-15, 4-2 Ivy) will host Columbia on Sunday in a noon start. Penn (12-13, 3-3 Ivy) visits Dartmouth on Sunday.
Harvard took a wild and emotional first game by a score of 10-9 after the teams traded 8-0 scoring sprees with Dillon O’Neill accounting for the final margin on a bases loaded, two-run single in the fifth inning.
O’Neill also started the scoring as he walked to lead off the first and stole second and third bases on consecutive pitches. He came home on an RBI error off the bat of Sam Franklin who also stole second and moved to third on a throwing error. Marcus Way followed with a two-out double to the wall in right for an early 2-0 lead in the first at bat of a highly productive say for the sophomore DH.
Penn sent 14 men to the plate in the fourth to score eight times on seven hits – three of them coming on severe defensive misplays by the Harvard defense that resulted in two doubles and a triple. Tom Grandieri was credited with two hits and a pair of RBI in the frame as Penn saw nine straight batters reach base at one point.
Harvard got four runs back in the bottom of the frame behind four hits including an RBI double from Kyle Larrow and a two-run double from Chris Rouches. The Crimson then tied and reclaimed the lead in the fifth. Tyler Albright hit a loud single and Way followed with a towering home run to right field to tie the game against reliever Patrick Brennan (0-2). The Crimson then loaded the bases and O’Neill plated two runs with a two-out, full count single through the left side.
O’Neill, Jeff Reynolds and Way all had two hits for the Crimson while Grandieri had three hits for Penn.
Dan Berardo (2-1) earned the win with 1.2 effective relief innings in which he struck out three batters and allowed a run. Will Keuper shut down the Quakers the rest of the way with 2.0 scoreless innings to earn the save (2).
Brennan took the loss (0-2) for Penn after being touched for three hits and three runs while retiring just one batter.
In game two, Penn made it interesting as Jeremy Maas connected for a grand slam in the top of the ninth inning to make a seemingly safe margin turn interesting at 12-9. After the homer, Harvard moved Dan Zailskas from first to pitch and the senior recorded his third save by retiring both men he faced including a strikeout to end it.
After Penn jumped on top with a run in the first, the Crimson took a 3-1 lead after four innings thanks to RBIs from Franklin, Zailskas and Brent Suter.
Penn’s Will Davis connected for a solo homer in the top of the fifth one pitch after hitting a debated ground out that was ruled a foul ball off his foot.
The game got even wilder as Penn starter Paul Cusick came apart in the fifth inning as he walked four batters (two with the bases loaded) and hit another as Harvard scored six runs on two hits. Way delivered a scorching double and Suter drove home two more with a hard single through the right side.
Dan Williams and Will Gordon opened the sixth with back-to-back solo homers to make it a 9-4 game before Jeff Reynolds answered with an opposite field homer in the bottom of the frame for a 10-4 lead. In the bottom of the seventh, another walk was followed by a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Zailskas to put runners at the corners and set up a sacrifice fly form Suter.
Gordon drove home the Quakers’ fifth run with a one-out double to left-center in the eight but Harvard answered again with an unearned run in the bottom of the frame.
Eric Eadington improved to 3-2 after an impressive showing for Harvard. He was touched for four runs in seven innings but he finished strong, striking out the last four batters he faced in a 10-strikeout performance. Cusick took the loss, allowing nine runs in 5.0 innings on seven hits and six walks.
Suter finished the game with a career-high four RBI after going 2-for-3 while Way batted 3-for-5. Franklin and Reynolds also had two hits apiece.