But since opening the Ivy League schedule with an April 3 loss to Cornell in Ithaca, the Crimson has come upon a different, more winning strategy.
The bats are still there—Harvard still leads the Ancient Eight in home runs and RBI. But pin the Crimson’s torrid Ivy winning streak—they swept the Columbia Lions (8-16, 5-5 Ivy) in Friday’s doubleheader 4-3 and 10-2, bringing the streak to five games—on something quite different.
“My pitching philosophy is simple,” Hall of Famer Satchel Paige once said. “Keep the ball away from the bat.”
Harvard pitchers may well have taken this philosophy to heart. With normal Game 1 starter Matt Brunnig out with tendonitis in his right elbow, senior pitchers Jason Brown—who moved into the one slot—and Mike Morgalis combined to limit the Lions to 11 hits and four runs in 13 2/3 innings at O’Donnell Field.
Since April 3, Harvard (11-9, 5-1 Ivy) had held Ivy League batters to a microscopic .189 batting average through Friday.
“If [Brown and Morgalis] and our other pitchers can keep up this trend,” junior catcher Schuyler Mann said, “our team will go far in the Ivy League.”
Mann attributed the success of Friday’s starters to their ability to “challenge” the Columbia hitters with a bevy of well-located fastballs and breaking balls.
“They also moved the fastball in and out very well,” Mann said, “and caught a lot of the Columbia hitters off-guard with some inside heat.”
Harvard coach Joe Walsh said he was happy about the pitchers’ ability to get ahead in the count.
“When our pitchers are throwing first-pitch strikes,” he said, “that helps a lot.”
With the wins, the Crimson maintained a one-game lead over Dartmouth and Brown in the Ivy League’s Red Rolfe Division.
HARVARD 10, COLUMBIA 2
Thanks to eight solid innings of one-run ball from Morgalis (2-2) and some fireworks from the bats of sophomore Zak Farkes and Mann, the Crimson capped off a dominant doubleheader against Columbia with a 10-2 victory Friday afternoon at O’Donnell Field.
Farkes and Mann hit home runs and sophomore designated hitter Frank Herrmann added three RBI in the rout. After Farkes’s two-run shot—his league-leading seventh of the season—staked Morgalis to a 4-1 lead in the third inning, the game never really was close.
“The big important thing was, after winning the first one, you really knew that we had to take two today,” Morgalis said. “I tried to set the tone early in a close game, 2-1, then we broke it open.”