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Lafayette and Harvard split Doubleheader


Bradenton, Fla. – Harvard and Lafayette split a Sunday doubleheader in games played at Manatee Community College. The Crimson, backed by a strong pitching performance, took game one by a score of 4-1 before the Leopards jumped out to a big lead in a 13-2 victory in the second game.

In the first game, Lafayette (6-4) jumped on top with a single run in the bottom of the second. Tom Ambrosole singled to left with one out and scored on a triple down the left field line by Justin Shepard when Harvard’s (1-6) relay throw to home hit Ambrosole in the back 25 feet from home plate.

Lafayette starter Jeremy Atkins, a freshman All-America selection last season, kept Harvard scoreless through the first five innings as the Crimson stranded four runners and ran into two outs on the base paths.

Harvard’s starter, Brad Unger (1-0), was equally as impressive in his first start of the season. After missing the opening weekend series at Wichita State while playing basketball for the Crimson, Unger held Lafayette to seven hits and one run while striking out six as he handed a 4-1 lead to the bullpen going into the bottom of the eighth.

In the sixth, Taylor Meehan led off with an infield single down the third base line and went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jeff Stoeckel. A balk moved Meehan to third with a 2-0 count on Matt Vance. Two pitches later, Vance lifted a high fly to right-center that was eventually pulled in by Lafayette right fielder Matt Hale with an acrobatic catch but it was good enough for a sacrifice fly to tie the game.

Tom Stack-Babich kept the game tied in the bottom of the sixth. With one out and a runner on first, Tom Hayes drove a ball into a stiff wind to right field. Stack-Babich made a fine grab in stride over his right shoulder and doubled off the runner at first base.

Jason Morytko (0-1) relieved Atkins in the top of the seventh after the Leopard’s starter allowed five hits while striking out five in 6.0 innings. Morytko retired the first two batters he faced but Jon Roberts singled over the first baseman’s head with two outs. Chris Rouches then took a 1-2 fastball to the warning track in left-center for an RBI double to give the Crimson a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the frame, Lafayette worked a pair of singles and a wild pitch into a chance with two down and its No. 2 hitter, Daniel Bierce at the plate. Bierce worked Unger to a 2-2 count but succumbed to a wicked curve ball to end the threat.

The middle of Harvard’s order provided some breathing room in the top of the eighth against Morytko. Vance singled sharply to shortstop and Stack-Babich unleashed a high home run to straight away center field to give the Crimson a 4-1 lead. Lafayette went to the bullpen but Harry Douglas met Steve Roberts with a sharp single back through the box. A sacrifice bunt from Matt Rogers moved him to second and he went to third on a wild pitch. The threat went for naught as a suicide squeeze bunt was popped up and the Leopards turned an easy double play to get out of further damage.

Harvard threatened again in the ninth as a single by Roberts was followed by a walk to Ben Rabinowitz with one out. The duo pulled off a double steal and Stoeckel worked a 3-1 count to his advantage. On a 3-2 pitch, Stoeckel lined a ball right at Lafayette’s third baseman and the Leopards pulled off another double play, doubling Rabinowitz off at second.

Max Warren relieved Unger in the eighth and worked two hitless innings with a pair of strikeouts to earn the save. Stack-Babich’s three hits led Harvard’s 11-hit attack while Meehan, Vance and Roberts all had two hits.

In game two, scheduled for seven innings, Lafayette again struck first with a four-run third inning against Harvard starter Dan Zailskas (0-1). Bierce used a bunt single to lead off before coming home on a triple to the gap in right by Rob Froio. Froio would score on a two-out opposite field single by Luick. Joe Ezekiel then delivered a two-run homer inside the foul pole in left field for a 4-0 margin.

The Leopards pulled away in the fifth with eight runs keyed by three walks, two hit batsmen and two errors. Shepard delivered a two-run double and Ian McCutcheon collected a two-run single with a seeing-eye single through the left side as the designated visiting team grabbed a 12-0 lead.

Zach Fritz (1-0) threw five shutout innings for the victory, scattering four hits while striking out three and not walking a batter.

Harvard got on the board in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly center field by Douglas. With runners on first and third, Lafayette reliever Tyler Chromey was called for a balk to bring in the second run of the inning. The Leopards got the run back with an unearned run in the top of the seventh for the final margin.

Stack-Babich had two more hits in the game to give him 12 for the weekend. Albright meanwhile, had his first multi-hit game of his career with a pair of doubles.

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