At the start of its season, Harvard baseball faced some of the nation’s top-ranked squads—teams that outplayed it in a string of hard-fought defeats. Back at O’Donnell Field, the Crimson looked to have found its stride with wins in its first two home contests of the season. After topping Boston College on Wednesday, the Crimson beat Columbia, 6-2, on Saturday.
But home did not prove to be so sweet for the Crimson for the rest of the weekend.
Following a loss in the second half of a Saturday’s doubleheader against the Lions, Harvard was swept by Penn, 7-0 and 8-5, on Sunday.
In the second contest of the doubleheader, the Crimson racked up a total of seven errors, including three in a critical fourth inning.
“We’re not losing games because of what the other teams are doing. We’re essentially beating ourselves—not playing the game the right way,” junior Rob Wineski said. “It’s not always the team we’re playing; it’s the stuff we’re doing—walking people, making errors, not having good at bats.”
With the two losses, Harvard remains at the third spot in the Ivy League’s Rolfe Division just above Yale, which has still failed to record a single conference win.
Penn’s two wins were tempered by two losses at Dartmouth on Saturday, putting the Quakers in a tie for third in the Gehrig Division.
PENN 8, HARVARD 5
In the teams’ nightcap, Harvard (5-22, 2-6 Ivy) and the Quakers (14-12, 5-3) traded off runs in the opening frames. But although both continued to produce hits, the Crimson couldn’t find a rhythm and stranded 11 runners, crippling its offense.
“We just didn’t play our best ball today,” Wineski said. “We didn’t come through with some timely hitting that we have to have to win, especially in the Ivy League.”
With the score tied at two apiece, Harvard looked poised to take the lead in the second inning. With the bases loaded and one out as leadoff hitter sophomore Jack Colton stepped up to the plate. But the Crimson’s season-long frustrations continued, as Colton hit into an inning-ending double play.
In the third, sophomores Jake McGuiggan and Steve Dill, the latter of whom is currently leading the team with a .338 average, hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to drive in two Harvard runners and give the Crimson its only lead of the game.
But the Crimson advantage proved to be brief. The Quakers capitalized on three Harvard errors in the top of the fourth to scoring three unearned runs and grab the 5-3 lead.
Penn extended the Crimson’s deficit as the game went on, but due to a controversial ruling and a Harvard protest in the eighth inning, the game’s final decision will be under review by league officials.
PENN 7, HARVARD 0
In contrast to the later matchup, the Crimson and the Quakers found themselves in a stalemate in the early innings of the doubleheader’s opening game.
Harvard’s senior lefty Brent Suter kept Penn’s bats quiet for the first four frames, and the Quakers’ hurler Cody Thomson—who pitched a complete game for Penn— returned the favor, allowing a total of just five hits in seven innings.
The game looked like it had the potential to be a pitchers’ duel, as the fifth frame opened with the visitors leading, 1-0.
But the Quakers racked up five runs on four hits in the top of the inning, eventually climbing to a 7-0 lead and the victory.
—Staff writer Madeleine Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.