CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Dartmouth defeated Harvard in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday, 6-5, to eliminate the Crimson from the race to qualify for the Ivy League Championship Series, but host Harvard (21-20, 11-9 Ivy) salvaged a split with n 11-3 victory in game two, denying the Big Green an opportunity to clinch a spot in the conference’s best-of-three series next week. Dartmouth (17-21-1, 12-7-1 Ivy) can still advance to the ILCS with a win in the regular-season finale tomorrow at Harvard’s O’Donnell Field.
Junior Sean Sullivan used his legs to score the winning run in the seventh of the opener. With the score tied at five, the second baseman rapped a single back through the box to lead off the inning, then stole second. Although he held his ground on a chopper to third, the next batter also hit a ball to the hot corner, and Sullivan scampered to third on the throw across the diamond. Two pitches later, reliever Buddy Hayward uncorked a wild pitch, which allowed Sullivan to score easily from third.
A two-out walk in the bottom half led to sophomore Austen Michel trotting in from the bullpen to preserve the one-run lead. He recorded the third out on the eighth pitch of the at-bat on a foul fly to right, then surrendered just a one-out single in the ninth the rest of the way to secure his league-leading seventh save of the year.
Dartmouth had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-out single off the bat of Blake Crossing to score Sullivan and junior Matt Feinstein. But Harvard tied the game in the second on RBI singles by Matt Rothenburg and Jake Allen at the bottom of the order.
In the third, the Crimson took the lead when Patrick McColl drove a pitch over the center fielder’s head for an RBI triple, then scored on a slow roller to third off the bat of Jake Suddleson to make it a 4-2 Harvard advantage.
The lead was short-lived, however, as sophomore Michael Calamari ripped a run-scoring single to center in the fourth and a two-out grounder to third was thrown away, giving Dartmouth a pair of unearned runs to put the Green back on top, 5-4. And speaking of short-lived leads, Allen belted his first home run of the season just over the fence in right, knotting the score at five through four frames.
Sophomore Michael Parsons (2-2) earned the win with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, while junior starter Cole O’Connor surrendered five runs on eight hits in five innings to go with five strikeouts.
Hayward (2-3) was stuck with the loss despite yielding just one run in three innings out of the bullpen. Harvard starter Noah Zavolas hurled the first six stanzas, giving up five runs, three earned, on five hits and three walks while striking out five.
In the nightcap, Dartmouth broke a scoreless duel in the fourth when senior Dustin Shirley singled, stole second, took third as the throw sailed into center field, then sprinted home on a Crossing fly to center. The next inning, the Big Green doubled its lead on a Feinstein two-out RBI single.
Big Green senior hurler Jack Fossand was cruising, having allowed just one single through four innings, but suddenly struggled after Harvard put a man on first with two outs. A Rothenburg single was followed by a Devan Peterson double to score the first Crimson run, and two batters later, Austin Black stroked a two-run single to put Harvard on top, 3-2.
Shirley immediately tied the game with his fifth home run of the year leading off the sixth, but it was the last gasp for the Big Green offense.
Harvard tallied three more runs in the sixth, only one earned as a throw to the plate on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly caromed into the Harvard dugout, allowing the runner on second to score as well. Peterson added an RBI single on an 0-2 pitch to cap the outburst.
Fossand was spelled by senior Marc Bachman to start the seventh, and the Crimson kept rolling, loading the bases with one out. Hunter Bigge greeted reliever Mike Concato by hitting a seeing-eye grounder through the right side to bring home two runs. Three more unearned runs in the eighth put the game well out of reach.
Simon Rosenblum-Larson (4-2) struck out 10 in six innings of work to earn the victory. He gave up three runs, two earned, on six hits and one walk before Kieran Shaw shut down Dartmouth over the final three frames to pick up his fifth save.
Fossand (4-4) took the loss for allowing six runs, four earned, on seven hits and three walks over six stanzas while striking out nine.
Five Crimson hitters had a pair of hits, and four drove in two runs, led by Bigge’s 2-for-4 game with two runs and two RBIs.
Shirley led the Big Green by going 3-for-4 with a homer, two runs and an RBI, and junior Steffen Torgersen had his nine-game hit streak snapped.
The decisive final game of the series will begin on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. and will be streamed live on the Ivy League Network, now available on Apple TV, Roku and the ILN app for Android and Apple devices. Senior Clay Chatham (2-4, 5.03) will start on the mound for Dartmouth.
Notes: Dartmouth pitchers walked five batters in game two, ending a streak of 10 contests without walking more than one batter … the loss in the nightcap ended the Big Green’s six-game winning streak, their longest in three years … Dartmouth stole three bases in the opener, its most since this season … the five unearned runs allowed by the Big Green in the second game were more than they had surrendered in their first 19 Ivy League games (3).