A few days after the Harvard baseball team’s failed attempt to take the Beanpot title against UMass, the squad will look to move past the loss this weekend.
On Friday and Saturday, the Crimson will host Brown, currently tied with Harvard for second place in the Rolfe Division—in a pair of doubleheaders.
Harvard (8-26, 4-8 Ivy) was down, 8-0, after six innings against the Minutemen at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass. on Wednesday, but in the last three innings, the Crimson closed the gap, pulling within one.
But UMass ultimately earned the victory, 8-7.
The Crimson looks to use this loss as motivation for this weekend’s games against Brown (7-26, 4-8), which holds playoff implications for the team as the season winds down.
In Wednesday’s matchup with the Minutemen, senior infielder Jeff Reynolds brought the game to a score of 8-7 with an RBI single to right field in the eighth inning. But after freshman third baseman Tanner Anderson was caught between second and third base, the Crimson’s rally was halted.
Harvard was unable to score any runs in the game’s final inning, and lost by one run.
“Even though it ended in a loss, I thought the guys felt pretty good about coming back in the second half of the game,” Harvard coach Joe Walsh said. “The team feels pretty confident about the fact that we swung back pretty well.[against UMass].”
“That kind of momentum that we had in the last three innings is what we need to come in with this weekend,” junior infielder Rob Wineski added. “The way we fought is a good sign for the upcoming games of our series [against Brown]…. We pulled a lot of positives out of the loss.”
Brown is on losing streak of its own, having dropped its last five matchups, and is looking to reverse that trend against the Crimson.
The Bears boast a balanced offense. Freshman infielder Nick Fornaca leads the team with a .316 batting average, while classmate Will Marcal sits tied for fourth in the Ivy League in home runs, with five on the year.
As a team, Brown sits third in the Ancient Eight in batting average (.282), with Harvard holding the sixth position (.266).
The Crimson will need to match its opponent’s offensive firepower if it hopes to topple the Bears.
Harvard will likely look to Anderson, Reynolds, and fellow veteran Kyle Larrow to provide an offensive spark from the team.
“Brown always seems to give us some trouble,” said Walsh, whose squad split last season’s series with the Bears, 2-2. “So we’re just going to concentrate and continue to swing the bats pretty good.”
Though Brown has put pressure on opposing pitchers throughout the 2011-2012 season, its own pitchers have been faulty at times. The Bears’ team ERA of 8.28 is the worst in the Ivy League.
Unlike most of its games this season, the Crimson will have home-field advantage for this weekend’s matchups at O’Donnell Field.
“It’s going to be nice to be at home and be able to hit in the last inning,” Walsh said. “I hope we take advantage of this because we don’t get many chances to play at home.”
After the loss against UMass, the Crimson is confident coming into the series against Brown.
“Even though we lost, there is definitely something to build off for this weekend,” said sophomore captain pitcher Andrew Ferreira. “We’re pretty confident of our ability, and we should get results this weekend. It’s always nice to be home.”