CHESTNUT HILL, MASS.—Boston College starting pitcher Ted Ratliff out-Harvarded the Harvard baseball team in a matchup of the crosstown non-conference rivals yesterday afternoon.
The Eagles (17-15-1) whitewashed the Crimson’s recent run of pitching success, drawing four walks and three hit-by-pitches and pounding 14 hits in a 10-0 victory. The Crimson (12-11-1) committed a total of seven errors, complicating matters for the pitching staff.
Meanwhile, Ratliff, a native of Harvard, Illinois, held the Ivies’ second-most proficient run-scoring offense to only one hit—a line-drive single by Crimson sophomore Steffan Wilson in the fourth inning.
“[Ratliff] kept pushing speeds, moving his fastball around the zone—everything a pitcher’s supposed to do,” Wilson said. “He was hitting his spots, keeping us off balance.”
Ratliff struck out only three Harvard batters in seven innings, but worked quickly and did not issue a single walk.
“None of his stuff was overpowering,” Wilson said. “Just the way he used it was.”
Ratliff was perfect through four innings before Wilson’s single and faced only 22 batters overall.
In the ninth, Harvard managed to rally for two two-out walks against B.C. closer Kevin Boggan before senior Lance Salsgiver struck out to end the game.
Salsgiver’s average dropped to .359 with an 0-for-4 day at the plate. His first three outs were recorded by Ratliff, one by a strikeout.
“Overall, I think, [Ratliff] didn’t try to do too much,” Salsgiver said. “He worked off his curveball a lot and located his fastball when he needed to. And that’s, well, all he needed today for us.”
Senior left-hander Mike Dukovich started the game for the Crimson, allowing nine runs in 3 2/3 innings and laboring through 85 pitches.
Only three of the runs, however, were earned.
Harvard’s defense committed three errors on the first three batters of the game—including the first of an eventual three by freshman Matt Rogers, a former high school shortstop whom Crimson coach Joe Walsh was trying out at third base.
“[Dukovich] threw well,” Salsgiver said. “It was just, you know, they had four or five little Texas Leaguers that fell in and we just weren’t making the plays behind him. And when that happens, there’s not too much for you to do.”
It was Salsgiver’s error in right field in the first that allowed the game’s first two runs to score.
As the first of two Eagles rounded third on a hit by Jared McGuire—B.C.’s first of the game—Salsgiver uncorked a high, arcing throw from right field that sailed wide of Harvard catcher Matt Kramer and into the home dugout.
With a flourish, home plate umpire Jim Rondo called timeout and awarded “Score! Score! Third!” to the Eagles as the home crowd applauded.
“Honestly the ball just slipped out of my hands when I was throwing it,” Salsgiver said.
“And that’ll happen; that happens once in a while. Unfortunately, it came at a bad time, considering we just had one or two errors before then and were looking to, you know, hopefully get a good play.”
Added Salsgiver, “It just kind of seemed like that’s the way it was going all day today for us. It was one of those games.”
Walsh brought a hobbled lineup to Chestnut Hill, where sophomore Matt Vance again manned centerfield with a torn labrum and captain Morgan Brown sat for the third straight game because of a strained hamstring. Sophomore Taylor Meehan started at shortstop in Brown’s place and committed two errors….Harvard sophomore Max Warren did not allow an earned run in two innings of relief after following junior Jason Brown, who struggled with his control….The start of the game was delayed as Rondo, the home plate umpire, bizarrely forced B.C. third base coach Mikio Aoki to remove his jacket, a rule demanding team uniformity that is rarely enforced.
—Staff writer Alex McPhillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.