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In yesterday’s doubleheader against Cornell, the Harvard men’s baseball team achieved its first Ivy League win in spectacular fashion with a walk-off grand slam from junior Marcus Way. The Crimson faltered in the second game though, getting into a double-digit deficit in the second inning.
Harvard (4-24, 1-7 Ivy) entered the four-game weekend hoping to improve its record in the Ivy League but came away with just one win, thanks to Way’s heroic grand slam at the end of the first game against Big Red (4-20, 2-6).
CORNELL 18, HARVARD 5
In the second game of the day, the Big Red built an early lead and didn’t relent.
Cornell opened with a scoreless inning, and the Crimson tallied one run by junior Jeff Reynolds off an RBI by senior Sean O’Hara.
The top of the second inning was one Harvard wished it could get back. The Big Red took advantage of the Crimson’s pitching and a few key errors, scoring 12 runs.
Harvard tried to shake things up after failing to strike out a Cornell player, switching the pitcher twice in the never-ending frame.
“We had a miscue on first base, not covering on a routine ground ball,” said Crimson coach Joe Walsh. “We kicked a couple of balls and basically gave them six outs in an inning.”
After scoring 12 runs off 15 batters and two Harvard errors, the Big Red was up, 12-1, at the close of the second inning.
What Walsh called a “lack of focus and lack of determination” allowed the visitors to get the victory over the Crimson.
The wind was definitely a factor, as several of Cornell’s hits were carried past the fence in fair territory.
“There were fly balls that were out—that was for both teams, but we didn’t put the ball in the air during that inning,” Walsh said.
“They hit a lot out, but they also were hitting the ball on the screws,” Harvard captain Tyler Albright added. “And you’ve got to be able to match that in order to win.”
After the second inning, a home run from Reynolds put the Crimson back on the board, bringing in three runs.
But Reynolds’ standout performance wasn’t enough to make up for the initial deficit.
“We were flat. We let them swing their sticks a little bit, and we just didn’t reciprocate,” Albright said.
By letting Big Red’s Brian Billigen swing his stick too often with six at bats, Harvard suffered two home runs and four RBI off the Cornell junior.
“The second game, we didn’t even show up,” Walsh said, “It’s my most disappointing loss, not only this season, but ever in the Ivy League.”
HARVARD 11, CORNELL 8
After being down to the Big Red going into the seventh inning of yesterday’s first game, the Crimson battled back, scoring six runs late in the matchup to clinch the win.
“It was obviously a very exciting finish, and it was a good comeback by us,” Albright said.
The game had even scoring to start, with four lead changes in the first four innings.
But when Harvard fell behind in the top of the fourth inning, it refused to give up.
In the final inning, the Crimson put on an impressive offensive show to overcome a three-run deficit.
After sophomore Danny Moskovits drove in a run and Cornell’s pitcher walked O’Hara for yet another Harvard score, designated hitter Way stepped up to bat.
With bases loaded, Way hit it out of the park over right field, bringing in four more runs to take the lead and win the game, 11-8.
“At the end, they gave us a chance to come back,” Walsh said. “We put some pressure on them and got Marcus with the bases loaded.”
Although it was Way’s only hit of the game, it was a hit that mattered.
“We know we are capable of that kind of stuff all year round—clutch hitting in big spots.” Albright said, “It’s very good to see coming out of this ball club.”
The first game of the afternoon marked Crimson quarterback-turned-pitcher Andrew Hatch’s first win on the mound, as well as Harvard’s first league win.
“I wish I had [the first Ivy win of the season] last week, and yesterday as well,” Albright said. “But it’s good to get the first one out of the way.”
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