But everything went south for Harvard in the top of the sixth. After a walk, a hit batsman, and a single loaded the bases for Dartmouth, Gruener surrendered a single to Thomas Roulis that plated the first two runs of the game.
Three more runs eventually scored on a fielder’s choice, an error, and a walk. After Gruener hit a batter to load the bases, Decker replaced his starter with senior Joey Novak. But Dartmouth’s Jeff Keller promptly dealt the biggest blow of the inning, smacking an offering over the left field fence for a grand slam.
“Besides a couple of tough innings, I thought our staff pitched really well,” Larrow said. “We could have used a couple more timely hits. It was a tough day, all in all, to come out and string together 16 innings given the conditions.”
Despite the lopsided final score, Harvard actually out-hit the Big Green, 7-6. The difference was that the Crimson failed to come through with runners in scoring position.
The biggest opportunity for Harvard came in the third, when three consecutive hits from Bailey, Larrow, and junior outfielder Mike Martin loaded the bases with one out. But a strikeout and a groundout left the runners stranded on the basepaths.
Martin highlighted Harvard’s offensive output in the first game, going three-for-four. Although an ugly sixth inning ultimately spoiled Gruener’s final start of the season, the freshman struck out six batters and contributed a dominant first five innings.
“I’m proud of these guys the way we’ve battled all year long,” Larrow said. “It stinks to come up short again, but there are a lot of good things to build on. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to be a part of it, but it was an honor to be on this team for four years.”
—Staff writer David Steinbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.