Something so good never felt so bad.
Despite a no-hitter by junior Ben Crockett in perhaps his final Ivy League game, the Harvard baseball team (18-24, 11-9 Ivy) will not win the Red Rolfe division this season, as it lost three of four games to Dartmouth (18-16, 12-8 Ivy) over the weekend. Harvard needed only to split the four games to secure a one-game playoff for the title against either Dartmouth or Brown. Unfortunately for the Crimson, the Big Green swept Harvard on Saturday and then won the first of two games yesterday, a 4-2 victory in ten innings, to crush Harvard's playoff and Ivy League Championship hopes.
"This is the worst feeling in the world," Harvard Coach Joe Walsh said. "I'm a baseball guy and I want to be playing baseball. But, after this Tuesday, our season is over. It's a lousy feeling because this team deserves to play this coming weekend and beyond."
Dartmouth's victory in game one of the doubleheader yesterday eliminated the intense pressure that game two would have contained if Harvard had held on to win. Regardless, Crockett's no-hitter in game two, a 10-0 slaughter in which Harvard took out its frustration from having lost game one, was as impressive a pitching performance as one will see in college baseball. Crockett faced the minimum 27 batters through his nine innings, allowing no hits and no walks on 85 pitches. Only a second-inning error by Bryan Hale in center field prevented a perfect game.
"I felt really good today, and (junior catcher) Brian Lentz called an unbelievable game for me," Crockett said. "It was a difficult situation because the team was really down after the first loss, but you enjoy going out and pitching no matter what."
Crockett struck out a career-high 14 batters, after fanning 12 last week against Brown. The performance gives the Crimson some momentum going into Tuesday's Beanpot Tournament at Fenway Park. Nevertheless, it is the failed execution this weekend that will linger in the players' minds for weeks to come.
Harvard 10, Dartmouth 0
Harvard made up for its losses with a triumphant close to the weekend, winning 10-0 behind Crockett's no-hitter, the first in Coach Walsh's six-year tenure at Harvard. Harvard scored six runs in the third inning to gain a comfortable lead over Dartmouth. The outburst all occurred with two-outs, beginning with Joe Llanes' solo homerun.