Runs and Guns: Pitchers Power Sweep of Cornell

ALMOST PERFECT
William L. Jusino

Junior right-hander Frank Herrmann pitched a complete-game one-hitter over Cornell in Game 1 of the Crimson’s Saturday sweep.

Frank Herrmann might not have been quite perfect, but at least his team still was.

The junior right-hander tossed a complete-game one-hitter in a 3-1 win to kick off a Crimson sweep of Cornell at O’Donnell Field Saturday and move Harvard’s Ivy record to a perfect 6-0.

Herrmann—who less than a week earlier missed a start due to tendonitis in his throwing elbow—was perfect through five and allowed only one run and two base runners while striking out six over seven innings to erase any doubts about his health.

“He’s been on the shelf for a little bit,” said Harvard coach Joe Walsh about Herrmann’s 10-day layoff. “But he was just throwing first-pitch strike after first-pitch strike, “

‘It was just huge for us,” Walsh continued, “because now we can come back with [Matt] Brunnig and [Shawn] Haviland tomorrow.”

Herrmann’s performance was followed up by senior Mike Morgalis, who threw a gem of his own, allowing only one earned run and six hits through seven to help clinch a 2-1 win in Game 2.

“Mike and I were feeling pretty good before the games today,” Herrmann joked, standing next to Morgalis. “So we told the guys to save all the runs for Princeton, since that’s the team we really don’t like.”

“Right, Mike?” he added, flashing a grin at his teammate

Herrmann had every right to be jovial. With the sweep, Harvard moved into sole possession of the Red Rolfe division lead, two games ahead of Dartmouth. Also, with a Big Green sweep of Princeton the same day, the Crimson remained the only undefeated team in the league.

“I think it’s really important [to be 6-0],” Morgalis said. “Especially because last year we ended up losing [the division] by one game. If we wouldn’t have lost [Game 1 against Cornell] last year, we would have won.”

The Big Red fell to 6-11 (1-3 Ivy) with the pair of losses.

HARVARD 2, CORNELL 1

With two outs and Steffan Wilson on second base with a double, junior shortstop Morgan Brown drove a base hit up the middle to break a scoreless tie in the seventh inning.

The next batter, Ian Wallace, singled to right to drive in Brown and give the Crimson all the runs it would need in a 2-1 victory.

But not before things got interesting.

With Harvard leading 2-0, Seth Gordon reached on an error to open the top of the eighth, then scored when right fielder Lance Salsgiver fielded a base hit by Michael Weiss and his throw skipped into foul territory behind third.

But with the Crimson clinging to a one-run lead and no outs, Joe Walsh brought in his new favorite closer—freshman infielder Steffan Wilson—to face the heart of the Big Red order.

After striking out Brian Kaufman and Conor Kelly (the team’s No. 3 and 4 hitters) to open his relief appearance, Wilson intentionally walked Matt Miller, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. But he was left stranded when Wilson got William Pauly to lineout to centerfield to end the threat.

It was Wilson’s third save of the season.

“Miller hit the ball all around the ballpark on us last year” Walsh said. “It was a little dangerous when they got that winning run over to second, but Coach Hyde made a good move bringing the outfielders in right before [Pauly batted].”

Morgalis—who improved to a team-best 4-0 with the win—got stronger as the game went on.

Still not pitching at 100 percent due to strained ligaments in his left foot, Morgalis didn’t find his slider until about the fifth inning, then retired six straight before sloppy defense took over in the eighth.

“I didn’t get a lot of time to warm up,” Morgalis said. “I think we had some complications with the lunch.”

Salsgiver had three hits, including a double. Junior Zak Farkes, hitting in the DH spot, had a double and a triple. Wallace also added two hits.

Dan Gala (1-2), who allowed two earned runs over 6 2/3 innings, took the loss for Cornell.

HARVARD 3, CORNELL 1

With Herrmann still perfect and the seven-inning game creeping towards its conclusion, his teammates—as tradition dictates—began to avoid him in the dugout. Well, except his roommate Chris Mackey.

“He kept telling me, ‘You won’t. You won’t.’ And I knew exactly what he was talking about,” Herrmann said after the game, grinning. “So I’m going to blame it all on Mackey.”

Despite a walk to open the sixth and a run scoring single two batters later, Herrmann improved to 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA, the best of the Crimson starters.

Herrmann got all the help he would need in the fifth.

With Harvard leading 1-0, Brendan Byrne singled to open the inning and was replaced on first when Salsgiver hit into a fielder’s choice. After Farkes flied out, Josh Klimkiewicz drove home Salsgiver on a double down the left field line. Mann then singled to score Klimkiewicz and give the Crimson a 3-0 lead.

Harvard’s first run came in the third inning. After Wallace singled to open the inning, an error by Cornell third baseman Jim Hyland on a Brendan Byrne grounder put runners on second and third. Wallace scored on a screaming line drive by Salsgiver, which was caught in centerfield for a sacrifice fly.

Blake Hamilton, who pitched all six innings for the Big Red, took the loss to fall to 0-2.

Klimkiewicz and Mann led the Crimson with two hits apiece.

SHORT HOPS

Game 1 was the shortest Ivy contest in recent memory. The seven-inning game lasted just 1:20...The Crimson had two runners picked off of first base in Game 1, something Walsh said was partly due to Hamilton’s questionable pickoff move. “I asked their coach after the game if it was a balk,” Walsh said. “And he said, ‘yeah, but he’s a senior so you won’t see him again.’”...Cornell didn’t get a running game going, either, perhaps due to Mann, who showed off his arm in the second inning of Game 2, picking Miller off second base.

—Staff writer Lande A. Spottswood can be reached at spottsw@fas.harvard.edu.

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