Pivotal Home-and-Home Baseball Series on Tap This Weekend

Zach Olson delivers a pitch in a 2012 Beanpot game against Massachusetts at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass. Buy Now
Zach Olson delivers a pitch in a 2012 Beanpot game against Massachusetts at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass.

The Particulars
Harvard baseball returns to O'Donnell Field on Saturday for a twinbill against Rolfe Division rival Dartmouth at 1 p.m. Sunday's doubleheader will be at Dartmouth and also starts at 1 p.m.

The Situation
Harvard trails the Big Green by four games headed into the weekend and must sweep the series to tie for the division title and force a one-game playoff next week for the right to face the Gehrig Division champion in the Ivy League Championship Series. If Harvard sweeps the series, the Crimson would host that one-game playoff next weekend on a date yet to be determined.    

About Harvard
Harvard has played numerous close games this season with outcomes decided by just a few pitches here and there. The team's record has not been reflective of the year, as the Crimson has lost an incredible 14 games by two runs or less with eight of those games decided by a single run. 

The team did find success last weekend in taking three of four games from division rival Brown. The Bears came into the weekend as the league's top offensive team but Harvard pitching limited Brown to just 19 hits in its three wins.

Harvard has seven players hitting above .290 overall this season as well as in Ivy League play. Jeff Reynolds is batting .390 in Ivy play and is coming off a tremendous week that saw him garner Ivy Player of the Week honors. He batted .611 (11-of-18) in five games with four runs, five doubles and eight RBI. In four games against Brown, Reynolds was 9-of-13 (.692) and reached base safely at least three times in every game.

Reynolds is the second Harvard man in as many weeks to earn top honors as Jake McGuiggan did the trick last week. McGuiggan leads Harvard with a .412 average in league play and each player has nine extra base hits in conference. Kyle Larrow is batting .375 with a team-best .468 on-base-percentage

Brent Suter (2-5, 3.91 ERA) and Conner Hulse (0-1, 3.91) are slated to start on Saturday. Suter has struck out 40 batters in 48.1 innings of work while walking just 13 and holding hitters to a .257 batting average. Hulse turned in a fine start last week against Brown and has continued his career marked as a strikeout pitcher with 24 K's in 23.0 innings.  

About Dartmouth
The Big Green enters the weekend as a hot team as winners of 10 straight and 15 of its last 17 starting with a victory over Division II member Saint Anselm back on April 4. Dartmouth's only two setbacks in that span have been a pair of one-run losses to Columbia and Brown.

Dartmouth will feature a rotation comprised entirely of left-handed pitchers, starting on Saturday with sophomore Mitch Horacek (3-2, 4.76), who has 40 strikeouts against just eight walks in 45.1 innings. Freshman Adam Frank (3-1, 5.09) gets the game ball in game two. He has just 14 strikeouts in 35.1 innings with teams batting .282 against him. Incredibly, Dartmouth only has eight pitchers that have seen work in more than four games this season (Harvard has 14).

Offensively, Jeff Keller (.381, .444 OBP) and Jake Carlson (.370, .420 OBP) lead a team that features five players with an on-base-percentage over .400. Joe Sclafani (.323) leads with 18 extra base hits while Dustin Selzer (.327) had five homers and 35 runs batted in. Speedster Ennis Coble (.330) sports a team-best .445 on-base-percentage thanks to his being hit by pitches 10 times already.