Youth abounds on the Harvard Crimson baseball team. Four freshmen have stepped in and have made hefty contributions in their inaugural campaigns. Mike Giardi, Dave Morgan, Jeff Mitchell, and Eric Weissman all continue to surpass what would usually be asked of freshmen.
Of the four, Giardi has played the largest role, moving into Coach Leigh Hogan's starting rotation while playing as a regular in left field when he is not on the mound.
Giardi has garnered a .324 batting average in 34 at-bats with 12 bases on balls. Even more impressive is the freshman's .511 on base percentage.
On the mound, Giardi is still adjusting to college hitters, as he has compiled a 7.29 earned run average in 21 innings of work. Despite the high ERA, he sports a record of 3 wins and 2 losses.
"I'm definitely still learning the college game as a pitcher. This is like playing in high school all-star games every week," Giardi said.
Classmate and battery mate Dave Morgan has had the same experience as Giardi as he, too, is scorching college pitching. Morgan is batting exactly .300 with 3 home runs in 50 at-bats in assuming the number one catcher's role.
"This is definitely the best team that I've ever been on, although I kind of expected opposing pitching to be a little tougher," Morgan said.
If these two frosh sound familiar, it may be because they also both starred at quarterback for the freshman football team last fall, jointly leading the Yardlings through a 5-1 campaign. Asked which sport they prefer, each responded that he likes the one he is playing better.
Also having a very significant impact on the Crimson this year has been pitcher Jeff Mitchell who has attained a perfect 2 win and 0 loss record in his five starts this year. He also is second on the staff with a 3.44 ERA and is also pleasantly surprised by his success.
"The talent at this level has really taken me by surprise," he said. "It is a lot more complicated in college because each team has a full lineup that can hit."
The last of this quartet of impact freshmen is Weissman.
Despite being accustomed to playing in the warmth of Florida, the Miami native has battled his way to a .366 batting average and a .519 on base average.
"This is definitely a different level of baseball than high school. Games mean a lot more, and there is much more intensity," Weissman said.
Despite the lack of key run production at times this past weekend against both Army and Brown, the Crimson offense has produced at a torrid pace over the first 20 games, compiling a .334 batting average and a .428 on base average.
Junior Jim Mrowka is leading the way with a red hot .442 batting average over his first 77 at-bats. This places him near the top of the EIBL in batting. Mrowka leads the Crimson in hits, with 35, and is tied with classmate Dan Scanlan for the lead in runs batted in with 18.
After the first 20 games of the season, in which the Crimson has compiled a lackluster 7-13 record, senior Captain Marcel Durand remains hopeful about the team's chances as EIBL action heats up over the next few weekends.
"Although we opened up league play 1 and 3, we have gotten a lot better in the few weeks we've been outside. We played real well in the field this past weekend, and the keys to the league are pitching and defense."