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BOSTON—Harvard was unable to complete its second ninth inning comeback in as many days yesterday at Fenway Park, losing 8-6 in the Beanpot championship to Boston College.
Up 8-4 after eight innings, the Eagles brought in closer Ryan Morgan to try to shut the door on the Crimson (13-18, 6-6 Ivy).
Freshman Mike Dukovich—filling in for injured junior first baseman Trey Hendricks—led off the inning with an infield hit and took second on a throwing error by B.C. shortstop Ryan Leahy. After Harvard leadoff hitter Bryan Hale was hit by a pitch, freshman second baseman Zak Farkes smoked an opposite-field single to load the bases with no outs for the heart of the Crimson lineup.
Freshman outfielder Lance Salsgiver came up to the plate as the tying run and promptly hit a ground ball up the middle that looked as if it might get through. However, second baseman Josh Discipio made a nice play for the Eagles (20-16)—tagging second base himself and relaying the throw to first for a rally-crushing 4-3 double play. Dukovich scored on the play, but Harvard was left with two outs and Hale on third.
“If Salsgiver’s ball had some eyes on it, we just may have won this thing,” Harvard coach Joe Walsh said.
The Crimson kept fighting. The next batter, senior catcher Brian Lentz, went down 0-2 before working the count full and delivering a line drive RBI base hit to center, bringing Harvard within two runs. Sophomore Schuyler Mann followed Lentz’s single with his third hit of the day—a rocket off Discipio’s glove—to put men on first and second with two outs.
But though the Crimson had the go-ahead run at the plate, it was unable to come through with the victory as freshman infielder Josh Klimkiewicz grounded into a fielder’s choice to the shortstop to end the game.
“We’re a team that’s very tough to beat in the late innings,” Farkes said. “We just didn’t have quite enough today.”
Harvard struck first in the top of the opening frame when Hale led off with a single. Walsh put on the hit and run with Farkes at the plate, which Farkes executed perfectly, stroking a single to right to put men on first and third with none out for Salsgiver.
The freshman delivered a sacrifice fly to rightfield, sending Hale across the plate and putting the Crimson up 1-0.
The Eagles came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning, though, when Harvard starter Matt Self yielded a base hit and a walk with one out, setting up BC cleanup hitter Jason Delaney.
The third baseman came through with a ground rule double to right-center field, plating Michael Flynn and sending Ryan Morgan to third. Matt Lederhos then singled to left to put B.C. up 2-1 before Eagles captain Leahy delivered with an RBI groundout to give the Eagles a two-run lead.
The Crimson tied the game in the second with two runs on a base hit from freshman Chris Mackey and an Eagles’ error.
B.C. went back up with two more off Self in the bottom of the inning to take a 5-3 lead.
The Eagles scored again in the third with two solo homers off Harvard senior Brendan Reed. Delaney put one into the B.C. bullpen in left before Beanpot MVP Leahy followed that blast up two batters later with a shot into the new seats over the Green Monster in left, his first home run of the year.
Though Harvard was down 7-3 at the end of the third inning, sophomore Rob Wheeler delivered a stellar effort on the mound in five innings of relief, giving up just four hits and no earned runs, to keep the Crimson in the game and give it a chance at a comeback.
“[Wheeler] did a really great job today,” Lentz said. “He threw strikes and consistently kept the ball down.”
B.C. put the leadoff runner on again in the fourth off Wheeler when Josh Discipio singled. The Harvard hurler got Flynn and Morgan to fly out and Lentz gunned down Discipio trying to steal second base.
Wheeler was the first Harvard pitcher to hold the Eagles scoreless in an inning this season since B.C.’s 24-6 victory last week.
“It’s a frustrating loss,” Farkes said. “We really wanted to win this game, but we can build on this loss.”
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