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After dropping four straight games to Jacksonville State in its first matchup of the season, the Harvard baseball team (1-12, 0-0 Ivy) looked to rebound as it continued its spring break trip with seven games on the road in as many days. The transition to playing outside against a southern lineup that saw friendlier conditions in preseason proved to be difficult, as the Crimson played to a 1-6 record on the week, picking up the lone win against Kennesaw State on Wednesday.
“We got off to a tough start,” said senior right-handed pitcher Zach Hofeld. “We weren’t playing the kind of baseball we know we are capable of, but we’ve started to turn things around. We stuck together, believed in ourselves, and got a win on Wednesday…[Despite some] tough losses, we know as a team we’re getting better and are on the rise.”
“Overall we’ve progressed throughout the week and gotten better on defense,” Albright continued. “We have a lot more confidence now…The most important thing is not hang our heads or anything. Spring break is tough. We [travel south] and play a lot of really strong teams.”
GEORGIA STATE 9, HARVARD 3
Despite an impressive first three innings that put the Crimson ahead, 3-2, Georgia State (16-4, 3-0 CAA) came back to defeat Harvard on Thursday. After tying the game, 3-3, the Panthers went up, 5-3 at the start of the fifth, when redshirt junior Joey Wood hit one out of the park. This was a lead the Panthers would not relinquish, as Harvard fell to its penultimate southern opponent, 9-3.
“The key for us is hitting,” Albright said. “The defense is coming along and pitchers are doing great, but we need to…produce runs. We’ve been getting guys on base, we just haven’t been getting them in home.”
Junior second baseman Jeff Reynolds led the Crimson with Harvard’s only home run of the game and had two hits on the day. Senior centerfielder Dillon O’Neill and sophomore first baseman Danny Moskovits also contributed two hits each for the Crimson.
HARVARD 10, KENNESAW STATE 6
Though Harvard found itself down, 5-1, after seven innings of play, a late offensive surge lead the Crimson to its first win of the season on Wednesday at Kennesaw State (12-8, 0-0 ASC).
“Once one person started hitting well, it was contagious,” Albright said. “Everyone started hitting well. This something we definitely want to replicate.”
Hofeld kept the Crimson in the game from the mound before the hitters took over, allowing just one hit in four innings of relief.
“When I [entered the game] in the fourth, we were down, 5-1,” Hofeld said. “I was trying to keep us in the game, to take some of [Kennesaw State’s] momentum and give it to us…to battle out there and go ahead of hitters in the counts. Our hitters did a tremendous job.”
“Against Kennesaw State, our pitchers threw really well,” Albright said. “They threw a lot of strikes and we have a lot of confidence in them.”
After a Moskovits double allowed Reynolds to score in the eighth, Albright sent the sophomore and junior first baseman Marcus Way home to close the gap, 5-4. Freshman shortstop Jake McGuiggan doubled to send home two more runs, putting the Crimson ahead, 6-5. From there, it was all Harvard, as the Crimson scored four times and allowed the Owls just one run in the ninth to secure the victory.
MERCER 14, HARVARD 3
A 6-0 scoring streak in the first inning gave Mercer (14-6, 4-3) a commanding lead over the Crimson on Monday. Harvard scored one run in the third, fourth, and eighth innings, respectively, but this would not be enough, as the Bears defeated the Crimson, 14-3. Reynolds and McGuiggan each had two hits for Harvard in the loss.
What would have been a two-game series between the two teams was cut to one since inclement weather gave the Crimson a day off on Tuesday. Before the game was called off, the two teams were tied with one run apiece in the second.
“Maybe [the game getting rained out] was needed,” Albright said. “We came back the next day and got a win. Having the day off allowed us to step back and prepare ourselves.”
WOFFORD 13, HARVARD 2
Though Harvard finished the first inning of its final contest against Wofford on Sunday tied, 1-1, a 12-0 run in the third and fourth innings pushed the Terriers (11-7, 0-1 SoCon) to a fourth win against the Crimson.
“Wofford was a really good hitting team,” Albright said. “We pitched well, but we didn’t really hit that well…I think since then, we’ve improved on defense and at bats.”
Harvard senior left fielder Sam Franklin was the first player on either team to score in the final game of the series, as a Way single sent him home after the senior stole second base. Junior right fielder J. T. Tomes scored Harvard’s other run of the day in the ninth inning.
WOFFORD 7, HARVARD 2
The Terriers overpowered the Crimson in the teams’ third matchup as well, as Harvard dropped the second game of a Saturday doubleheader against Wofford. Though the Crimson looked strong at the beginning of the game—going up, 2-0after three innings—the Terriers proved to be too much for Harvard once again, scoring seven runs to Harvard’s zero in the last five innings.
O’Neill scored the Crimson’s first run, as sophomore second baseman Kyle Larrow sent him home on a sacrifice play. Way closed out Harvard’s scoring with a home run in the third.
WOFFORD 10, HARVARD 0
Saturday’s first matchup was all Wofford, as the Terriers blanked the Crimson, 10-0. Wofford earned a 7-0 advantage after the first three innings and eventually increased its lead to end the game up by ten. Included in this dominant performance were two home runs from the Terriers’ junior outfielder Mac Doyle.
WOFFORD 5, HARVARD 2
The first of four contests between the two teams proved to be the closest, as Wofford edged the Crimson, 5-2. Three errors in the first two innings put Harvard in a 3-0 hole coming into the third. Despite scores from Reynolds and Larrow, the Crimson fell short of a comeback, as the Terriers sealed the deal with two runs in the eighth.
Though the week was a tough one for Harvard in terms of results, the Crimson remains optimistic about improvements the team has made during its spring break trip.
“We take a trip south to play best teams we can play against,” Hofeld said. “We see a lot of good pitchers. The goal is to come back from [spring break] better as a team, take that momentum, and head to Ivies raring to go. At the end of the trip, we’re staring to come around.”
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