The Chase For the Ivy Title, Deciphered
With Harvard and Brown splitting yesterday’s doubleheader, the Bulldogs stayed alive in the Red Rolfe division title chase heading into the final weekend of play.
The Crimson (21-12, 12-4) remains in the division’s driver’s seat. Brown (19-17, 11-5) lurks one game back. And now Yale (21-14, 9-7) is still alive, though barely, standing three games back with four remaining.
Only Dartmouth (13-16, 7-9)—which Harvard plays this weekend in a pair of home-and-home doubleheaders to cap its Ivy schedule—is mathematically eliminated.
The Bears and the Bulldogs face each other in a four-game set beginning Friday,
So what does this all mean?
If Harvard wins three of four, a Brown sweep of Yale would force a one-game playoff for the division title.
If Harvard splits, the Bears could force a playoff with three wins or take the division with four.
By virtue of a head-to-head tiebreak advantage, Harvard would have to lose all four and the Bulldogs sweep for Yale to advance to the Ivy Championship Series.
It might sound complex, but one part is simple—the Crimson controls its own destiny.
“We’re still in first place,” Harvard coach Joe Walsh said. “And we’re playing like it. They’re going to have to beat us.”
The last time a one-game playoff was necessary was in 2002, when the Crimson and the Bears finished with identical Ivy records and split the head-to-head series. Harvard won the playoff and went on to sweep Princeton in the ICS.
HOME RUN KINGS
Zak Farkes and Schuyler Mann continued to distance themselves from the rest of the sluggers in Harvard history yesterday. Farkes smacked the first pitch of Game 3 over the left field wall to raise his school-record career total to 25. It was his second homer of the weekend and his third of the season.
Mann blasted a solo shot high over the foul pole in left field to lead off the seventh inning of Game 3. It was his 24th career home run, the second-highest total in the Harvard annals.
With his 4-for-4 performance in Game 3 yesterday, shortstop Morgan Brown extended his hit streak to six consecutive plate appearances.
Brown doubled in the seventh and eighth innings of Harvard’s 16-4 Game 2 win on Monday.
He followed that up with a single in the second, a double in the fifth, an infield single in the sixth and a single in the seventh.
The streak finally came to an end when he grounded out to pitcher Jeff Dietz to lead off the third inning of Game 4.
After an impressive offensive display on Monday, the Crimson bats stayed hot yesterday, scoring 18 runs on 23 hits in the doubleheader. Harvard racked up 40 runs total in the four-game set, the most of any Ivy weekend this season. “Even our outs are hard,” Walsh said. “That’s what I like.”...Harvard will travel to Hanover on Saturday for the first doubleheader, before hosting the Big Green for a pair of games on Sunday...The Crimson will next play on Thursday, when it travels to Rhode Island.
—Staff writer Lande A. Spottswood can be reached at email@example.com.