Game of the Year, Runner-Up: Baseball 20, Princeton 19

In one of the most entertaining, high-scoring, and flat-out bizarre games of the baseball season, Harvard prevailed, 20-19, against Princeton on April 7 at O’Donnell Field.

Down two runs entering the bottom of the ninth, Harvard scored three times in the final frame to walk off for the win. All three runs came on wild pitches.

The two squads combined for 38 hits and nine errors. Each team belted a grand slam, and five Crimson batters registered at least three base hits.

Winds gusted at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour out to center field throughout the game, wreaking havoc for fielders and ensuring a game filled with plenty of runs.

“If anybody hit it in the air, people would misjudge it because of the wind, and it would fall in somewhere,” sophomore outfielder Brandon Kregel said. “And a routine pop-up might fly out of the yard just because of the wind. That was really interesting because a four-run lead meant really nothing in that game because it was really easy to score runs.”

Although Princeton jumped out to a 7-2 lead, Harvard answered with 14 runs in three innings to seize what appeared to be a comfortable 17-10 lead.

But the Tigers scored five in the seventh and four in the ninth to regain the advantage and set up the dramatic bottom of the ninth.

“It’s the first year that I’ve been here that the team never quit in that [type of] game,” co-captain Robert Wineski said. “Every ball that was hit in the air, I was like, ‘Okay, that ball’s gone.’ We go up by [seven]; we knew that the game wasn’t over yet because the ball was just flying out of the park. Of course, then they go up in the last inning, and in my mind, the game’s over, but with this group of guys, you never know.”

The game represented Harvard’s second walk-off win of the season. By the end of nine innings, the scoreboard resembled that of a football game.

“That game was really, really funny,” Kregel said. “I felt bad for the pitchers on both teams because their ERAs probably skyrocketed after that game.”

—Staff writer David Steinbach can be reached at dsteinbach@college.harvard.edu.

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