Seven Harvard relievers hurled ten scoreless innings in the makeup of Wednesday’s snow-postponed tune-up against Holy Cross (9-12-1) in Worcester, Mass.
Not long after captain Morgan Brown strolled home with the game-winning run on a Josh Klimkiewicz groundout in the top of the 11th inning, the Crimson (9-9-1) rolled into Cambridge with a 3-2 victory, its sixth straight win.
En lieu of his regular midweek practice bullpen session, sophomore Shawn Haviland worked through two hits and a walk and struck out two in a scoreless second inning.
“I actually like getting into in-game situations, instead of throwing bullpens” Haviland said. “I feel like I can bear down, get guys out work on what I use in real games.”
A lot will rest on the right arm of the 6’2 sophomore from Farmington, Conn., whose performance is heating up just as the bats have shown signs of cooling.
He will start Game 1 of tomorrow’s Ivy home-opening doubleheader against Penn (7-19, 2-6 Ivy). Sophomore Matt Vance, the team’s de facto leadoff man—his ten steals lead the league—will be conspicuously absent from the outfield.
Vance stayed home yesterday to visit with doctors about what appeared to be a torn labrum, the principal muscle of the throwing shoulder.
Until Sunday’s game against Cornell, he had been playing through pain in centerfield. Vance denied that he would opt for surgery this early in the season, saying he planned to resume his normal place in the lineup for the rest of the season, probably at DH.
Departed slugger Zak Farkes ’06-’07 battled a similar injury early in his Harvard career, undergoing surgery in the summer after a 2003 sophomore campaign in which he set the Harvard single-season home run record.
In Vance’s absence, the Crimson managed only nine baserunners and two runs after senior Lance Salsgiver led off the game with his third home run.
“He was a catalyst for our lineup,” Haviland said. “And he was definitely one of the better centerfielders I’ve ever played with. Maybe he’ll play like Farkes did and not make it worse. But we don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize his future.”
Salsgiver started in centerfield and continued to wreak havoc at the plate, going 2-for-5 with the solo shot. He leads the Crimson in batting (.394), on-base percentage (.475), and slugging (.621), and needs one home run to tie his personal best of four during the 2002 season.
In Penn, the rest of Harvard’s lineup will welcome an interdivisional opponent that has been a dependable boon for struggling offenses.
With the Ivies’ second-worst ERA—only Brown’s 8.83 mark is worse than its 8.74—Penn features a jack-of-all-trades reliever named Doug Brown and a staff full of astronomical ERAs.
It has yielded 10.83 runs per game since the Ivy season started on March 25.
Its offense, the league’s third-worse by batting average, has been paced by .375-hitting catcher Jeff Corn.
Haviland will start Game 1 tomorrow and freshman Adam Cole will start Game 2. Together, the pair allowed only two earned runs in 14 2/3 innings last Saturday against Princeton.
“They were unbelievable last weekend,” Brown said. “We’re hoping they can match that again.”
On Sunday, the Crimson will welcome Gehrig division leader Columbia (6-19, 4-4 Ivy) to Cambridge.
As it did in last Sunday’s sweep of Cornell, Harvard will start seniors Javier Castellanos (1-3) and Matt Brunnig (1-0).
—Staff writer Alex McPhillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.