The Harvard's men's baseball team had a rough go of it this weekend in Providence, R.I. against Brown, a team the Crimson had anticipated sweeping. Harvard split the four games with the Bears, losing two Saturday 8-3, 12-7, respectively and winning two Sunday, 8-7, 8-7.
In many respects the two unexpected losses on Saturday were a product of underestimated Crimson expectations. Brown came into the game with a less-than-super 7-14 record, including a 5-4 record in league play, and without any leaders in any of the league's batting categories.
"We came out really, flat this weekend," Harvard junior shortstop Mike Giardi said. "I think we came into the game with the impression that we could win easily."
But there had been signs the weekend before that Brown would be no slouch when the Bears swept Dartmouth in a four-game series. That success was carried into Saturday.
"They hit the ball well and were, on the whole, a tough team," Giardi said. "But we didn't really do much to stop them. Our play--with the exception of a few--was definitely disappointing."
But on Sunday, the Crimson rallied back. Harvard battled Brown for 10 innings to win the first game. Then, with the momentum on its side, the Crimson came out of the second with another victory.
"What a difference a day makes," senior rightfielder Mike Hill said. "We played pretty badly in the first game--we seemed lackadaisical and just a little out of it. Then, on Sunday, we sort of got upset at ourselves and we played with a lot more intensity."
Despite the Crimson victories in the second game, though, Harvard's chances to beat Yale out for the championship in the league's Red Rolfe Division--remote going into the weekend--were all but dashed with the two losses to Brown on Saturday. Although Yale dropped a game to Dartmouth, the Crimson find themselves four games in back of the Bulldogs going into the final weekend of league. The only way Harvard could tie Yale is if the Bulldogs dropped all four games this weekend to Brown and Harvard sweeps Dartmouth--an unlikely-at-best possibility.
"The sad part about this weekend is that we could've gained on Yale and we didn't," Giardi said. "It's all but over now."