Joe Walsh stood cross-armed in front of the home dugout—white jersey soaked from his victory bath—and smiled into a chill spring breeze.
“What cold?’ he chuckled.
What cold, indeed.
With a two-game sweep of Cornell in the best-of-three Ivy Championship Series at O’Donnell Field on Monday, the Harvard baseball team clinched its first Ivy title since 2002 and guaranteed itself a bid to the NCAA regionals beginning June 3.
The Crimson (25-15) was propelled by solid starting pitching, stellar defense, and a senior class that after waiting two years for an Ivy title wasn’t about to wait another day.
The lineup’s three seniors—Schuyler Mann, Ian Wallace and Rob Wheeler—accounted for all five of Harvard’s RBIs in the 2-0 and 4-2 wins.
“It’s everything I could have ever wanted out of the end of senior season,” said Wheeler, whose RBI single kick-started the Crimson comeback in Game 2. “I’m just so pumped.”
Cornell fell to 17-23 with the losses.
Starting pitchers Frank Herrmann—who tossed a complete game shutout—and freshman Shawn Haviland combined to allow just a single unearned run in 16 innings in a pair of pitchers’ duels.
“Cornell’s got very good pitching,” Walsh said. “Everyone was kind of thinking we swing the bats real well, and we do, but it just goes to show you that good pitching’s the thing. And we had it today, too.”
Regional brackets will be announced on May 30 in a live selection show on ESPN2.
HARVARD 4, CORNELL 2
In the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 2, the Big Red finally took its first lead of the day. It lasted all of 10 minutes.
With Harvard trailing 1-0, Wheeler knocked in Josh Klimkiewicz—standing on second with a double—to tie the game at 1-1.