Baseball Falls to Harvard 2-1 in Ivy Playoff Thriller
May 9, 2002
CAMBRIDGE, MA - The Brown baseball team dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to the Harvard Crimson with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a Red Rolfe Division playoff at O'Donnell Field on Wednesday.
Harvard (18-23, 13-7 Ivy) advanced to the Ivy League championship series with the win and will host Princeton beginning on Saturday.
The game featured the Ivy League's top two hurlers and was a pitcher's dual from start to finish. Harvard's Ben Crockett (6-3) got the win as he threw all nine innings and gave up six hits while striking out 16. Brown's Jonathan Stern (Long Valley, NJ) (7-4) was equally impressive as he went the distance for the Bears and held the Crimson to six hits while notching 14 strikeouts. Crockett and Stern combined for one walk and 30 strikeouts on the afternoon.
Brown (25-24, 13-7 Ivy) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when freshman third baseman Jeff Nichols (Medford, NJ) blasted a solo homer to deep left field.
Both teams threatened to score in the eighth inning but the game remained 1-0 in favor of the Bears until the Crimson pushed two runs across in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Harvard's Schuyler Mann began the bottom of the ninth by reaching on an infield error. However, Stern got tough and fanned the next two batters to put Harvard down to their final out. Nick Seminara pinch ran for Mann and stole second base.
The Bears were one strike away from winning the game when pinch-hitter Mickey Kropf laced a triple to deep right center that scored Seminara and tied the game 1-1. The next batter, second baseman Faiz Shakir, blooped a single to shallow left field that scored Kropf with the winning run.
Four of the five games between Brown and Harvard this season were decided by one run. Brown finished the season with 25 victories, which established a new school record.