After seeing all the success that pitching has brought to the Harvard baseball team in recent years, the rest of the Ivy League has likewise shifted its emphasis towards recruiting quality starters. As a result, more and more teams-including Yale, the Crimson's opponent this weekend-are boasting bona fide aces.
"Everybody's got a gunslinger this year," Harvard Coach Joe Walsh said earlier this year. "It's amazing."
Still, the rest of the league has not caught up to Harvard pitching-wise just yet. While every team may have a gunslinger or even two, this weekend proved that the Crimson is unique in having four of them.
Thus, while Yale (8-17, 3-9 Ivy) was able to seize the opener of this weekend's four-game series on the strength of a one-hitter by Elis' southpaw Craig Breslow, the rest of the Yale rotation proved no match for Harvard's pitchers.
In the next three games, the Crimson's starters limited the Elis to just five earned runs total, lifting Harvard (12-18, 7-5) to three wins over Yale at O'Donnell Field this weekend.
"We probably have the deepest pitching staff [in the league]," senior ace John Birtwell said. "As a staff, everyone is confident handing the ball over to the next guy. I'm not sure many other teams can say that."
In addition to the fine performance from its starters, Harvard capitalized on some breakout performances at the plate from a laundry list of hitters. In particular, juniors Mark Mager, Faiz Shakir and Brian Lentz each boasted at least two multi-hit games, and scored 10 of Harvard's 30 runs over the four games.
By winning three wins against Yale, Harvard took its first series of the season. More importantly, with Dartmouth taking three games from Brown this weekend, the Crimson moved within a half-game of the Bears for first place in the Red Rolfe Division.