You would be hard-pressed to find a better baseball team in Boston right now than the Harvard Crimson, which delivered a 17-1 drubbing to outmanned cross-Cambridge rival MIT Wednesday at Soldier's Field.
MIT met the same fate as other Boston opponents Northeastern, Boston College and Boston University have, all of which were also overwhelmed by the potent Crimson offensive attack.
Harvard scored early and often against MIT starter Charles Freeman, who surrendered seven runs in three-and-two-thirds innings.
The game began inauspiciously for Freeman when Jim Mrowka walked. After Mrowka was caught stealing, Mike Hill singled and was driven in by a Marcel Durand triple.
First baseman Dan Scanlan then flew out before the Crimson mustered a little two-out lighting on a double by shortstop Mike Giardi and a single by DH Nick Delvecchio.
These three runs were all that Harvard starter Chip Poncy would need as he shut down the anemic MIT attack, which could manage only two hits and no runs in the first six innings.
The Crimson batters, however, were not finished by a long shot. After adding another run in the third to make the score 4-0, the Crimson scored three more in the fourth.
Hill led off with his second single of the game. He was eventually driven in on a Scanlan groundout to make the score 5-0. The inning continued as Giardi singled and was brought home by DelVecchio's triple.
Freeman then gave way to Eric Hopkins, who gave up a single to catcher Dave Morgan before getting third baseman Pat Hegarty to end the inning.
In the fifth frame, freshman left fielder Mike Quealy led off with a single. His hit was followed by three more consecutive singles by Mrowka, Hill, and Durand, making the score 9-0.
After a Scanlan flyout, Harvard hit double figures as Giardi doubled home Durand. He then moved to third and was brought across the plate again by DelVecchio, this time via a sacrifice fly.
After MIT failed to score once again, the bottom of the sixth brought more of the same. Eric Weissman, batting for Hegarty, led off with a walk against Hopkins.
Following a Quealy strikeout and a Mrowka single, Hill picked up two more RBI's with a double. He would later score himself on a wild pitch to bring the count to 14-0.
Hopkins was relieved by Nate Ritter, who would be replaced in the same inning by Eddie Salanga. Harvard managed its final three runs in the seventh off these two.
On the day, the Crimson hitters amassed a total of 21 hits in only 28 turns at the plate and failed to score only in the second and eighth innings.
"We just came out hitting," said Captain Marcel Durand. "We've been hitting the ball real well all year and especially in the last few weeks."
In the meantime, Poncy stymied the MIT hitters in picking up his second win of the season to go with no losses. He has proven himself to be a valuable middle-of-the-week starter whom Coach Leigh Hogan can use against non-EIBL opponents. This allows the top four starters--Sean Johnston, Tom Hurley, Jeff Mitchell and Giardi--to stay strong.
"Chip has done a great job for us," said Durand. "All of our middle-of-the-week starters have performed when they have been out there."
Poncy was replaced by Shawn Fibkins in the top of the seventh. He pitched one inning, allowing two hits but no runs.
Junior hurler Tom Baxter pitched the final two innings, giving up MIT's lone run in the eighth despite only yielding one hit.
Harvard has concluded its home schedule and finishes the season at Dartmouth in a Saturday twinbill.
Harvard, despite being knocked out of ECAC playoff contention by losses to Princeton and a split with Cornell last weekend, still has a shot to finish in second place in the EIBL.