Batsmen Keep the Hits Coming
Harvard Sweeps Army, Splits Against Brown During 53-Run Weekend Road Trip
Paced by a relentless offense and solid pitching, the Harvard baseball team opened its EIBL schedule impressively, taking three of four games from Army and Brown over the weekend.
The strong showing on the road bodes well for the Crimson, which has traditionally gotten off to slow starts in league play.
An expected, it was the bats that got the job done. Harvard's hitting plated 50 runners before the dust has settled.
"It was a good start for this team and a good start to the season," freshman pitcher Jamie Irving said. "It's not hard to pitch with confidence when you get the kind of run support the offense provided all weekend."
"We've got a good streak going," sophomore Jeff Mitchell said. "We're looking forward to this weekend against Navy ad Penn."
The Crimson's record now rests at 9-9 overall, 3-1 in the EIBL.
The chase for the EIBL title began on Saturday at West Point in what was supposed to be a pitcher's match-up between senior Sean Johnston and Cadet southpaw Steve Reich, an All American last season. Unfortunately for Army, it didn't happen that way.
After going silent for the first two innings, the Crimson attack lashed out for eight runs in the third en route to an 18-4 blowout.
Home runs by senior Nick DelVechhio and junior outfielder Mike Hill climaxed the eruption, sending Reich to the showers and providing Johnston with the kind of run support he seldom saw last season.
Johnston threw a strong six innings to improve his record to 2-0, walking only one while striking out nine.
In the second game of the twinbill, Harvard's offense again took charge, fueling a 13-6 triumph.
Knotted at 3-3 after three, the Crimson broke things open in the fourth on run-scoring hits by Co-Captain Jim Mrowka and junior Juan Zarate. Mrowka capped things off by hitting a two-run homer the next inning, while Hill added his second of the day, a solo shot, in the seventh.
Against Brown on Sunday, the Harvard attack started off slowly but eventually came around in splitting two one-run games with the Bears.
In the first game, a tough 5-4 Brown win, Harvard's offense was held in check by stingy pitching and defense. With the game tied at 4-4 going into the bottom of the seventh, the Bears manufactured the game winning run against tough-luck loser Jamie Irving, who had been impeccable in relief of starter Jeff Mitchell.
In the finale, things heated up offensively for both teams, but this time it was Harvard's turn to win. Paced by Hill's virtuosic five-hit performance at the plate, the Crimson endured a furious rally by the bears in pulling out a 17-6 victory.
Harvard opened the game with a seven-run first inning, carving out singles and waiting for walks to load the bases. Junior Phil Andriola, junior Pat Hegarty and Hill all contributed RBI hits in the inning.
Later on, however, it was Brown's turn to explode. Down 14-4 going into the bottom of the sixth, the Bears roared back with nine runs off of Crimson starter Ray Desrocher and reliever Tony Lancette. After Harvard added two more in the top of the seventh, Brown came back with three of its own to force extra-innings.
Enter sophomore Mike Giardi. One of several two-sports stars on the Harvard team, the shortstop led off the eighth with a homer. Irving then avenged his loss in the opener by setting down the Bears in order.