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You could see this one coming.
With winds gusting in from right field at 30 miles per hour on Saturday, junior catcher Schuyler Mann had hit everything Brown’s pitchers threw at him, grounding base hits through all of the holes in the infield and knocking a few more down the lines.
Mann wrapped up Saturday with five singles, all on low liners and sharp grounders, several to the opposite field. He had sat back and taken pitches the other way, instead of trying to drive the ball into the gale force winds in left—and it had paid off.
He had been patient and smart.
But on Sunday, he got to be himself.
And you could see this one coming.
With the wild winds of Saturday stilled, Mann—a right-handed power hitter who loves to pull the ball—turned on two inside pitches and deposited them far beyond the left-field fence in Game 4 to finish an already phenomenal weekend with a flourish.
“I felt confident coming in after a day like [Saturday] and with the wind blowing out,” Mann said.
The Crimson’s cleanup hitter finished the weekend 9-for-15 to raise his batting average to .300 and his homer total to six.
And Mann’s hot streak couldn’t have come at a better time for Harvard, which took three-of-four games from Brown to remain within striking distance of Red Rolfe-leading Dartmouth with one weekend to play.
The final win was highlighted by Mann’s multihomer performance, his second of the season, and first since opening day.
With the Crimson trailing Brown 2-0 in the second inning, Bears starter Brian Tews grooved an 0-1 fastball inside. Big mistake.
Mann lined the ball into the trees in left field to cut the score to 2-1.
Then, with Harvard behind 5-4 in the eighth, Tews hung a slider inside and Mann crushed in 380 feet to tie the ball game.
Still, his most impressive at-bat of the afternoon may have been his last.
With one out and the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Harvard trailed 8-7, just a ground ball away from a double play and an all-but season-ending loss. But Mann worked Brown reliever Ethan Silverstein for a walk—and a game-tying RBI—and the Crimson won the game when Ian Wallace dropped down a perfect suicide squeeze on he next pitch.
“He’s swinging the bat real well,” Harvard coach Joe Walsh said. “He’s patient up there at the plate. He got down 0-1 and still worked it out. You get that RBI, that’s all that matters.”
Something else matters a lot, too. Entering its season-deciding series with the Big Green, the Crimson’s cleanup hitter is hot and putting up the numbers his teammates always knew he would.
With Mann in the mix, Harvard finally has the dangerous heart of its lineup—Zak Farkes, Trey Hendricks and Mann—all hitting at the same time, heading into what could be a quartet of slugfests for the Red Rolfe crown this weekend.
It’s all coming together.
And on Sunday, when the wind stopped swirling, you could see this one coming.
—Staff writer Lande A. Spottswood can be reached at email@example.com.
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