It took two games for the bats on the Harvard baseball team to warm up. But once they did, the Crimson came through when it mattered most.
Facing off against Michigan State (9-8) in Greenville, S.C., the Spartan pitching staff shut out Harvard (2-9) in the first two games of the series to capture 1-0 and 4-0 victories.
Despite dropping Saturday’s doubleheader, the Crimson would have the last word and came through in full force on Monday, scoring seven runs in two big innings to secure a win against its Big Ten opponent.
“We really showed how we can all come together in a situation that was kind of against us,” junior Brandon Kregel said. “I think that’s a huge testament to our confidence and how we can play together as a team, especially coming off the losses.”
HARVARD 7, MICHIGAN STATE 3
Despite temperatures in the upper-30s and rain that ended the game after eight innings, the Crimson battled to a 7-3 victory in the final contest of the series.
The Harvard bats came alive in the team’s biggest offensive showing of the season to date, as a three-run second inning and a four-run sixth propelled the Crimson to the win.
It was senior Kyle Larrow who delivered the knockout blow. With the bases loaded, no outs, and the game tied at three in the top of the sixth, Larrow smacked a triple to right field that plated all three baserunners. One batter later, Kregel brought Larrow home to put the Crimson up four.
“[Larrow’s hit] was huge,” Kregel said. “But it all started with [sophomore Mitch] Klug hitting a leadoff double that was really big kick starting that inning…. Kyle’s bases loaded triple really capitalized on that whole inning. I think that was really huge collectively.”
Harvard jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second inning, as the Crimson loaded the bases with two outs and proceeded to score on a single, walk, and hit batsman. Patience was the key to the rally, as Michigan State starter Walter Borkovich issued four free passes in the frame.
The Spartans would battle back in the bottom of the fifth and scored three runs – just one of which was earned – off Crimson senior starter Sam Dodge to tie the game.
But Harvard responded with a heavy hand in the next half-inning, breaking the game open to seize a 7-3 lead. Junior Tanner Anderson entered in relief to secure the win by shutting down the Michigan State offense with three scoreless innings.
“We really took advantage of opportunities with runners in scoring position today,” Kregel said. “In the first two games, we left a lot of runners on base…. We had a lot of people come up in big situations [today], and I think that really helped us.”
MICHIGAN STATE 4, HARVARD 0
Offense was hard to come by for the Crimson in the rubber game of the Saturday doubleheader, as the Spartans jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 4-0 win.