Zak Farkes has some company.
With his fifth-inning, 410-foot blast in yesterday’s Beanpot semifinal against UMass, captain Schuyler Mann now shares the title of Harvard career home run king. Both sluggers have 23 career homers.
Mann was modest in his assessment of the achievement.
“It’s pretty cool,” Mann said, “except, I’m neck in neck with a guy who’s been playing three years instead of four. And I’m pretty sure the record will be broken again by one of the guys who are here now.”
Mann entered the season with 18 career home runs, including 11 last year, the second-highest single-season total in Harvard history. Farkes, who has been slowed by first a shoulder and then a thigh injury this season, entered the year with 22. He also holds the single-season record of 14, which led the team and the Ivy League in 2004.
“I actually didn’t realize [I’d set the record] until the guy from the Herald told me,” Mann said. “So it was a surprise, but a good one.”
When Harvard coach Joe Walsh brought in his closer—third baseman Steffan Wilson—to nail down the win in the seventh inning, he called in freshman centerfielder Matt Vance to play third base.
In previous situations, Walsh had sent either left fielder Ian Wallace—who played shortstop for the Crimson two seasons ago—or an extra infielder on the bench to replace Wilson.
Why the change?
“Vance is our shortstop of the future,” Walsh said. “He was a high school shortstop and had never played centerfield. We moved him there, and that versatility, especially when you can only bring twenty guys, guys that can play two or three positions are a lot of help.”
Vance also tripled and singled for Harvard.
With its first-round victory yesterday, the Crimson not only advanced to the Beanpot Classic final, but ensured that its entire roster will get to make the trip to Fenway.
For day games, Harvard only brings 20 players when it travels due to academic considerations.
“I’m pretty excited,” Mann said. “It’s nice we get to play at 5 p.m., so the whole roster will be there.”
It’s the first time since 2003 that The Crimson will play at Fenway, after both rounds of the Beanpot were played in Brockton last season.
Harvard does have a long history at Fenway, however.
The first game ever played at the park featured the Red Sox and the Crimson on April 9, 1912, three days before the Titanic sunk.
Batting third and playing centerfield for the Sox was Hall of Famer Tris Speaker.
—Staff writer Lande A. Spottswood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.