Harvard Baseball Ends Weekend 1-3 in Ivy Play

This weekend was a chance for the Harvard baseball team to recover from last weekend’s 0-4 Ivy-opening showing and make a definitive statement on its home turf.

Despite the team successfully defending O’Donnell Field against Massachusetts last Wednesday, this weekend’s series against Ivy League rivals Cornell and Princeton saw the Crimson drop three of four in Cambridge and remain bound to the cellar of the conference standings with a 1-7 Ivy record.

“Overall, we played pretty well—we were in all the games,” said sophomore first baseman Patrick McColl, who had a game-saving web gem at first in the opener against the Big Red. “We just couldn’t quite pull it out in a couple of them.”

Giving up two comebacks to Princeton and splitting offensive shootouts with Cornell have Harvard (12-15, 1-7 Ivy League) leaving O’Donnell without having clawed its way back into Ivy contention the way it hoped to. Although there are still 12 games left on its conference slate, the road doesn’t get any easier, as the Crimson welcomes Ivy-leading Yale to Cambridge next weekend in a four-game set.

PRINCETON 5, HARVARD 3

Last year’s Ivy champion Princeton (9-18, 5-3) gave itself some breathing room in the conference as it completed the two-game sweep of Harvard with a 5-3 comeback win.

The Crimson’s tally in the first inning—an RBI double by team batting average leader sophomore Patrick Robinson to plate captain Josh Ellis—held up for three innings in what was shaping up to be a pitcher’s duel between Harvard’s sophomore Kevin Stone and Princeton’s junior Ben Gross.

While Stone pitched 8.0 innings to give the Crimson bullpen some rest, Gross settled down in the 1-0 game and proved himself the ace of the Tiger’s staff that he is: the Princeton starter went 7.2 innings, giving up one earned run on five hits with six strikeouts, to get the win and lower his team-leading ERA to 1.46.

“We still have some work to do to try and extend ourselves in those early positions where we have the opportunity to,” said sophomore Trent Bryan, who batted leadoff in the series. “[We have to] try and come away with a more comfortable lead earlier on.”

With Harvard’s offense held quiet until the ninth inning, the Tigers put together three earned runs against Stone to take the lead for good. The Crimson defense, meanwhile, did its part—Harvard turned a season-high four double plays in the game.

In the ninth, freshman Jake Suddleson gave Harvard some hope with a two-run blast to pull the Crimson within two, but Princeton’s top bullpen arm, sophomore Ryan Smith, retired the next two Harvard hitters to seal the deal.

PRINCETON 9, HARVARD 4

Sunday’s beautiful afternoon weather betrayed the Crimson in the seventh inning of a 4-4 tied game in the doubleheader opener, as the Tigers opened the floodgates with five runs to snatch the victory at the last second, 9-4.

Freshman righty Kieran Shaw was tagged for five runs—one unearned—in his one inning of work and took the loss.

“We were competitive until the very last inning, really,” said Bryan. “That was good to see—oftentimes when we would fall behind early in the game, we wouldn’t necessarily maintain our competitive drive to stick with it to the end and try and come back. We did a good job of staying in it.”

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