CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard baseball team received two superb starting pitching efforts on Sunday against Dartmouth but the Big Green closed out the regular season with two wins against the Crimson by scores of 3-1 and 10-8 at O'Donnell Field.
Dartmouth (28-10, 14-6 Ivy), the Red Rolfe Division champs, will travel to Princeton (15-5 Ivy) next weekend for the Ivy League Championship Series for the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
In the opener, junior lefty Brent Suter overpowered Dartmouth batters to the tune of 11 strikeouts in the seven-inning game. Still, the Big Green took a 1-0 lead in an ugly first inning that saw Harvard commit three errors. A pair of clutch hits to center field in the second and fourth inning plated runs to account for the last two runs before Suter retired six of the final eight outs via strikeout.
All told, Dartmouth tallied seven hits.
Harvard was held to four hits and scored its run in the third on a single to center by Jeff Reynolds.
In game two, Ben Sestanovich was dazzling as he struck out five straight batters at one point and struck out the side in the second and fourth innings with eight punch outs through four. Dartmouth's lone hit was a wind-blown homer by Chris O'Dowd in the fourth.
Harvard scored runs in each of the first six innings; Reynolds had a long RBI double in the first; Tyler Albright had a two-run double to the wall in left in the second; Sean O'Hara unloaded a mammoth homer in the fourth; and Cole Arledge plated a run in the fifth and Jack Colton laced a two-run homer in the sixth.
Harvard took a seemingly commanding 6-1 lead into the sixth inning but a tiring Sestanovich was undone by a walk, error, 11-pitch walk and a seeing-eye single to right. The single made the score 6-3 and forced Sestanovich from the game.
Harvard's Dan Berardo got out of the jam after allowing a fourth run on a sacrifice fly but the bullpen provided little relief as Dartmouth scored five times in the seventh on four singles, a walk and two hit batsmen with the bases loaded. A solo homer by Joe Sclafani in the eighth accounted for the final margin.
Needing to win the game to have a chance at home field advantage in the playoffs, Dartmouth turned to closer Ryan Smith in the sixth inning with the Big Green trailing, 6-4. Smith was greeted by Colton, who took the first pitch he saw over the left field fence but was otherwise masterful, scattering two hits in 3.2 innings with no walks and two strikeouts to earn the win.
O'Hara and Marcus Way (2-2, HBP) were the lone Harvard player with two this in the game but the Crimson banged out 10 hits in recording the lone double digit hit outing for either team in the series.