Black Delivers Clutch Hits, but Baseball Splits Weekend Slate

Back in Black
Junior Austin Black pictured here at the plate against Yale earlier in April. The Lincolnshire, Ill., native batted in freshman Quinn Hoffman with a single down the right field line to earn his team the walk-off victory on Sunday.

The Harvard baseball team took on its northern Ivy foes in the final weekend of play, splitting a pair of doubleheaders in a home-and-home against Dartmouth.

In both of the twinbills, the Crimson(19-23, 7-13 Ivy League) took close victories in the second game while struggling offensively in the earlier games against the Big Green (22-17-1, 11-9 Ivy League). The final score of all four games was decided by less than three runs between two evenly matched opponents.

“We got some really good momentum for this young club moving forward,” coach Bill Decker said. “I am really happened for everyone. We talked a lot this year of just staying competitive and having a lot of options with many guys coming back.”

DARTMOUTH 2, HARVARD 1

In a pitcher’s duel at Red Rolfe Field in Hanover, N.H., Dartmouth edged Harvard narrowly after a strong performance by senior righthander Chris Burkholder. Although both pitchers managed to go sixth innings in the seven-inning series opener, the Big Green won the tight battle off two solo home runs by junior outfielder Kyle Holbrook and freshman first baseman Michael Calamari.

The Crimson was limited to three hits in the game. Unable to carry any momentum until the last inning, Harvard managed to stay within striking distance through an impressive pitching performance by junior righthander Ian Miller, who delivered six innings for the Crimson.

The lone run for Harvard came in the seventh, when junior pinch hitter Austin Black scored sophomore first baseman Patrick McColl off a sacrifice fly. McColl started the inning with a double to center field, but he was the only runner to score, as the Crimson left two on base to finish the game.

Regardless, a strong effort to finish the game gave positive momentum. In particular, Black reinforced his role as the team’s unofficial designated pinch-hitter by delivering another RBI in crunch time.

“His role is exactly that, as someone who can come in and give us a victory.” Decker said. “He knows his role, and it is a very easy decision to bring him in. He had some really good at bats for us on Saturday.”

HARVARD 7, DARTMOUTH 6

Scoring six runs in the eighth inning, Harvard edged out Dartmouth in the second game of Saturday’s matchup. Freshman second baseman Quinn Hoffman was the offensive leader for the game, landing two hits and two RBIs off five at-bats.

In the critical eighth inning, Hoffman delivered the second run of the shift by singling to left and scoring freshman right fielder Jake Suddleson, who had previously tripled.

The final of the inning’s six runs was again off the bat of pinch hitter Austin Black, who sent a routine pop fly into center that was dropped. This error scored two runs in the process, the second of which gave the Crimson the lead heading into the final two innings.

Assigned as the late-season closer, freshman reliever Kieran Shaw shut out the Big Green in the final two innings and captured his third save of the season.

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