Baseball Goes 3-1 Against Bulldogs

TWO-SEAM OR NOT TWO-SEAM
David E. Stein

Sophomore MIKE MORGALIS pitched six strong innings and struck out seven for an 8-4 win in game one Saturday.

It sure looked like sophomore catcher Schuyler Mann was late getting back. When the catcher dove into first base just a split-second behind Yale pitcher John Janco’s pickoff throw in Saturday’s second game, it certainly seemed that yet another Harvard inning, along with Mann, had gone up in a cloud of dust, one more casualty of the between-game lull that has provoked Harvard coach Joe Walsh to indefinitely ban parent-sponsored potlucks from future doubleheaders.

But then the umpire signaled safe, and suddenly, instead of an enraged Walsh storming off the field from his third base coach’s box, it was enraged Yale skipper John Stuper storming onto it, barking all the way.

“You can’t make those mistakes in a close ballgame,” Stuper said. “Bear down!”

The advice may have been meant for the umpire, but it was the Crimson (12-17, 6-6 Ivy) who was busy following it.

Moments after Mann was declared safe, it was clear that Harvard was, too. Mann brushed himself off and came around to score on a two-base error by Yale outfielder Chris Elkins, helping the Crimson to an 11-1 win to sweep the doubleheader day. Just like that, after running into two costly outs and failing to defend a double-steal play in a 9-8, 11th-inning loss on Friday, Harvard had taken three of four from the Bulldogs and seized a full-game lead atop the Red Rolfe Division standings.

“We got a break,” Walsh said about the Mann call. “Hey, it’s nice to get one once in a while.”

In truth, plenty of breaks went Harvard’s way against Yale (13-18, 4-8). On a weekend when freshman pitcher Matt Brunnig made his return from injury and junior centerfielder Bryan Hale (9-for-16, 7 runs scored) made his return from oblivion, one of the only mars was a flare-up in junior Trey Hendricks’ knee that forced him to leave the field Saturday on a cart.

Though generally satisfied with the weekend’s developments, Walsh couldn’t help but think about the one that got away Friday.

“I just hope that game doesn’t come back and hurt us,” he said. “That’s one we’re going to look back on all season.”

Harvard 11, Yale 1

Senior Kenon Ronz lived up to his coach’s hyping.

The Harvard lefthander pitched a complete game in Saturday’s series finale, no-hitting Yale through 5.1 innings and striking out 14, as the Crimson prevailed, 11-1.

The successful pitching performance came as no surprise to Walsh, an unabashed Ronz promoter.

“I thought he threw well,” Walsh said. “A [scout] from the Indians organization came to see [Yale’s game one starter Mike] Elias. I said [to the scout], ‘Stick around if you want to see a lefty who can throw’.”

Ronz (2-2) would have had a shutout, except that freshman third baseman Morgan Brown botched his throw to first base on what should have a routine groundout in the first inning. The misplay allowed the batter, Yale’s Josh Zabar, to move all the way to second, and he later scored on a wild pitch. That put the Bulldogs ahead, 1-0.

Harvard responded with two runs each in the third and fourth, both times courtesy of Yale errors. In the third, Elkins dropped Crimson shortstop Ian Wallace’s pop fly, allowing Mann and senior Brian Lentz to come around with two outs. An inning later, the Bulldogs muffed the relay throw on a double-play ball, letting freshman Chris Mackey score. Hale, after stealing second and third base, added Harvard’s fourth run on a wild pitch.