By Josh Kummins
BROOKLINE, MA – After Boston College’s offense slugged 11 hits in the opener of the 2011 Baseball Beanpot at Friedman Diamond on Wednesday, Harvard eeked out a walk-off win in the nightcap to conclude a quick day at the ballpark.
BC will get a shot at their 10th title, while Harvard will be searching for their third tournament championship. The cross-town rivals will meet for the 14th time in the history of the Baseball Beanpot at 7 p.m. next Tuesday, April 26.
The Eagles earned a 9-3 win over Northeastern to win last year’s title at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, Mass. In the last championship meeting between the Eagles and Crimson in 2006, BC walked away victorious after delivering a 10-2 drubbing. Harvard last won the title in 2005.
Game 1: Boston College 6 – Northeastern 1
The Eagles squared the season series with the Huskies after Northeastern University posted a 2-1, 11-inning win the last time the two met on Mar. 29.
Boston College opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning as catcher Nate LaPointe drove left fielder Marc Perdios home on a single. LaPointe took a pair of bases on the relay throw but was gunned down by Husky freshman shortstop Oliver Hart as LaPointe tried to stretch the hit to an inside-the-park home run.
The Huskies tied up the score in the fourth when catcher Jon Leroux grounded into a double play that plated left fielder Jeff Dunlap, who led off the inning with a walk.
Huskies starter J.T. Ross worked out of a big jam in the fifth inning after allowing a leadoff double to Perdios and a walk to second baseman Matt Hamlet. Ross then induced groundball outs to center fielder Tom Bourdon and shortstop Brad Zapenas.
Northeastern’s best scoring chance of the day came in the sixth inning when Eagle relief pitcher Nate Bayuk loaded the bases. But Northeastern’s right fielder, Conor Lyons, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to strand the runners and a golden opportunity.
In the bottom of the inning, the Eagles broke it open with five runs on five hits to take a 6-1 lead.
Ross allowed four straight singles to lead off the inning, including a two-RBI single by Boston College junior Andrew Lawrence. After a walk to Perdios, LaPointe drove in another pair of runs on a single. The scoring concluded with Tom Bourdon’s sacrifice fly, which scored Perdios.
In the midst of the scoring, the Huskies replaced Ross with sophomore Chris Carmain. Ross was tagged the loss for the fourth time this year. He has yet to earn a win.
However, the Eagles are suffering as well due to staff ace Mike Dennhardt’s Tommy John surgery earlier this year.
Because of the injury to Dennhardt, BC uses a “pitching by committee” system with their bullpen in most of their games. They used one pitcher in every inning on Wednesday with Nate Bayuk earning the win for his scoreless sixth inning.
Game 2: Harvard 1 – Massachusetts 0
It was a classic duel in the second game of the Beanpot as offense was at a premium and the pitching staffs took over in what was a scoreless affair into the late innings.
Both teams cold only advance one runner past second base heading into the seventh inning.
The Harvard Crimson pushed across the game’s only run in walk-off fashion as sophomore first baseman Danny Moskowits hit an single through the infield that plated left fielder Jack Colton with one out in the bottom of the ninth. UMass center fielder Rich Graef came up with the ball and fired a strong throw to home plate, but catcher Tom Conley dropped the throw and was not able to recover to tag out Colton.
For Harvard, it was their first walk-off win of the season as they are now 1-1 in games won on the last at-bat. The last game came April 2nd at Penn, an 8-7, 12-inning loss.
The Minutemen fall to 1-6 in one-run games and were held scoreless for the first time this season.
Harvard’s first two pitchers combined for the first six innings as senior starter Daniel Berardo struck out three in three hitless frames. Senior Jonah Klees came on in the fourth and also whiffed three while only allowing one hit.
Senior Andrew Hatch chalked up his second win for the Crimson as he allowed four hits in the final three innings.
UMass started senior Charlie Benson, who pitched a stellar game in which he threw eight-plus innings of scoreless ball and tossed 116 pitches en route to striking out seven and walking three. However, Benson was tagged with his second loss of the season when junior hurler Leif Sorenson allowed the inherited runner to score to end the game.
Benson set new career-highs for innings pitched and pitches thrown in the loss, breaking his 5.1 innings pitched in the 2009 Beanpot semifinals.
Despite the loss, Minuteman third baseman Matt Gedman extended an Atlantic 10-best 16-game hitting streak with two singles. He now ranks fourth in the NCAA with a .449 batting average.