For the second-straight weekend, the Harvard baseball team relied on stellar starting pitching—and not its potent lineup—to take both halves of a doubleheader from Penn Saturday, winning 5-1 and 7-3 to complete a 4-0 Ivy weekend.
With the sweep of the Quakers (7-18, 2-8 Ivy), the Crimson (13-9-1, 7-1) stretched its consecutive Ivy win streak to seven and increased its lead in the Red Rolfe division standings to two games heading into divisional play this weekend.
“I know that one thing we’ve been striving for this year is balance [between offense and defense],” said Harvard coach Joe Walsh, whose starters allowed just three earned runs in 15 innings of work Saturday. “Now I think we’re finally finding some.”
The Crimson will next play at Boston College on Tuesday, and will resume Ivy play this weekend when it travels to Yale to kick off its Red Rolfe schedule.
HARVARD 7, PENN 3
Walsh saved his best for last.
A day after using senior ace Trey Hendricks to nail down a Game 1 win against Columbia on Friday—and an hour after sending Hendricks to warm-up in the bullpen in case he was needed in Game 1 on Saturday—Walsh gave the senior right-hander the Game 2 start yesterday.
And Hendricks was worth the wait.
Though not as dominating as he was in last Sunday’s complete game three-hitter against Princeton, Hendricks turned in another strong performance, allowing two earned runs on eight hits while striking out five over eight innings.
The co-captain improved to a team-best 4-1 with the win.
“Trey has just been a pillar of consistency,” junior first baseman Marc Hordon said.
Both earned runs came in the eighth inning, with Hendricks’ pitch count well over 100 and Harvard already ahead by a comfortable 7-1 margin.
“He was up to 116 pitches, and I probably shouldn’t have sent him out there for the eighth,” Walsh said, “but he’s just such a bulldog on the mound.”
Penn starter Brian Cirri (1-2) was solid in his first Ivy start of the season, keeping the Quakers in the game early. But with the score knotted at 1-1 in the fourth, the Crimson began to get to him.
With one out, Cirri walked Hordon and sophomore outfielder Chris Mackey, then hit freshmen second baseman Brendan Byrne to load the bases. Sophomore shortstop Morgan Brown then chopped a ball to Penn counterpart Evan Sobel, who went to second for the forceout. Hordon scored on the play to give Harvard a 2-1 lead.