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Freshman Morgan Brown’s second collegiate pitching appearance was much more memorable than his first—even though it was only seven pitches long.
With no outs, the bases loaded and a 10-7, ninth-inning lead, Harvard coach Joe Walsh called his third baseman to the hill against Northeastern yesterday. It was the right call.
Brown got both batters he faced to ground out—the first into a double play—to pick up his first career save in a 10-8 Harvard comeback win at Friedman Diamond.
“[In high school] I just kind of pitched an inning a game like this,” Brown said. “So I was used to coming in cold from the field. I guess it would be kind of normal if it wasn’t my second time pitching in college.”
The Crimson—which entered the contest on a three-game losing streak—trailed Northeastern 6-1 through six innings. But in the seventh, Harvard (9-16, 3-5 Ivy) came back to tie the game.
With freshman left fielder Chris Mackey on first base, sophomore shortstop Ian Wallace blasted a 370-foot, two-run homer over the left-center fence to pull the score to 6-3.
After senior Bryan Hale and freshman Lance Salsgiver walked, and freshman Zak Farkes singled to load the bases, Harvard’s RBI men came to the plate. Sophomore Schuyler Mann knocked in one run with a single to right, and junior Trey Hendricks tied the game with a two-run double into the left-field gap.
Wallace, who had an RBI double in the fifth, drove in each of the Crimson’s first three runs.
“I thought Wallace’s hitting really kept us in it, especially that homer,” Walsh said. “He had been swinging the bat really well down in Florida, and struggled a little bit since he got back. It was nice.”
Harvard pulled ahead for good in the eighth.
Brown reached on an infield hit to start the inning, and a single by Salsgiver put men on first and second. Farkes then walked to load the bases for Mann.
Mann—who sat out Tuesday’s loss to Boston College with a jammed finger—smacked a ball off the fence in right field, driving in two runs and giving the Crimson its first lead of the game.
“His parents showed up with all kinds of pads and protectors and stuff,” Walsh said. “I didn’t even have him bat in the first inning because I was worried about his finger, but he said it doesn’t hurt.”
Harvard plated its final two runs later that inning on a sacrifice fly by Hendricks and a throwing error by Huskies catcher Matt Morizio on a one-three steal.
The scoring spurt gave Harvard senior reliever Ryan Tsujikawa (1-2) a 10-6 cushion when he took the mound in the bottom of the inning. But after retiring the first two Northeastern hitters, Tsujikawa hit Brad Czarnowski with a low breaking ball and yielded an infield single to Chris Emanuele to put men on first and second. Erik Hagstrom then scored Czarnowski with a chopper through the right side, cutting the Crimson’s lead to three.
Walsh then pulled Tsujikawa for closer Barry Wahlberg, who forced a popout to end the inning. Suffering from a blister on his throwing hand, Wahlberg struggled in the ninth, loading the bases on a single, walk and hit batsman before being relieved by Brown.
The freshman—who wasn’t recruited as a pitcher—had only seen 1.2 innings of action all season but had shown promise in solid bullpen sessions. But with only the Ivy League maximum of twenty dressed players in his dugout, Walsh called for Brown.
“I was actually looking to use him today,” Walsh said. “I just didn’t envision that it would be that way.”
With the pitching change, Farkes moved from second to third base, and Salsgiver came in from right field to play second. The outfielder was tested immediately, when Brown got Brian Nutting to ground to shortstop. But the former high school infielder Salsgiver took the toss from Wallace and turned the double play with ease.
Junior Jason Brown pitched the first five innings for the Crimson, allowing only one run through the first four. In the fifth, four Huskies’ hits along with an error on a sacrifice bunt gave Northeastern its 6-1 lead.
Tsujikawa earned his first win of the season.
It was Harvard’s second-straight comeback victory over the Huskies (6-12). Last season, Harvard fell behind 9-0 at O’Donnell Field before rallying for a 15-10 victory.
With the Crimson locked in a three-way tie atop the Red Rolfe standings, its most recent win may provide much-needed confidence entering the season’s first divisional series. Harvard hosts Yale in a four-game set beginning Friday.
—Staff writer Lande A. Spottswood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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