And so it ends.
After coming into the weekend with an outside chance at making the Ivy League playoffs, the Harvard baseball team saw its season come to a close Sunday, splitting its doubleheader at Rolfe Division champion Dartmouth.
“We were all a lot happier with how we played [Sunday] compared to Saturday,” junior Rob Wineski said. “[Sunday] we came out hard and really gave Dartmouth all they could handle. Obviously we were disappointed by not taking more games away from them, but with a team like Dartmouth that is tough and has been doing well all season, we’re just happy we gave them a solid showing. The season ended on a pretty high note.”
Despite the optimism, the final record extended a streak of losing seasons that dates back five years to an 18-18 2007 campaign.
DARTMOUTH 8, HARVARD 3
The season ended much the way that it started, with poor fielding by Harvard (12-30, 8-12 Ivy) dooming the Crimson to a loss. Like in its March 2 contest at No. 7 Arizona, when Harvard committed three fielding errors en route to a 7-1 defeat, Sunday afternoon’s season-high five errors proved too much to recover from for the Crimson offense. Harvard fell, 8-3, despite outhitting Dartmouth (22-16, 14-6), 11-10.
After leading off the scoring with a Jake McGuiggan RBI double in the first, Harvard gave up a six-run bottom of the second on just four hits. Freshman pitcher Tanner Anderson started the game, surrendering only seven hits in six innings. But after hitting Dartmouth’s Dustin Selzer with a pitch to start the second, it all went downhill.
In the next at-bat, senior second baseman Jeff Reynolds committed a throwing error to first, one of five on the weekend for him, to put runners on first and second. A wild pitch by Anderson advanced both runners, followed by a throwing error by freshman catcher Ethan Ferreira that brought Selzer home for an unearned run.
Big Green freshman Matt Robinson knocked in another runner on a single before scoring himself on another throwing error by McGuiggan. In total, the Crimson gave up three unearned runs in the second inning alone. McGuiggan added an RBI in the top of the third, giving him 21 on the season to go with his team-leading .352 batting average.
HARVARD 8, DARTMOUTH 7
The first game of the doubleheader was the Nick Saathoff show. Coming into the weekend, the freshman designated hitter had seen just 29 plate appearances, registering only eight hits. In his first two at-bats of the day, Saathoff knocked one out of the park in the second and doubled down the right field line in the third, bringing five runners in for the Crimson.
“It was a really nice win we got over them in the first game,” Harvard coach Joe Walsh said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t come away with the second.”
With a seven-run lead entering the bottom of the third, a victory seemed assured.
But a five-run bottom of the third, punctuated by a Jeff Keller grand slam, prompted a pitching change from Walsh and turned the rest of the game into a defensive affair as both teams tried to hold the other at bay.
Harvard managed just one more hit, a single by sophomore Jack Colton in the top of the sixth, but it proved to be enough as a McGuiggan sacrifice fly brought the winning run home. Junior pitcher Joey Novak (1-3) was awarded the win after pitching 2.2 innings in relief, giving up five hits and two earned runs.