Despite being first to light up the scoreboard in five of its last six matchups, the Crimson failed to pick up its second win of the year in the latter two-thirds of its spring-break road trip.
Harvard (1-12) took on Bethune-Cookman (9-9, MEAC 1-2) in a three-game series Tuesday through Thursday in Daytona Beach, Fla., where the Crimson lost, 8-7, 11-2, and 6-4.
Harvard then headed further south to Orlando, Fla., for the weekend to face off against No. 19 Central Florida (16-5) in another three-game series. But the home team got the sweep once again as Harvard fell in close decisions, 4-3, 4-2, 6-5.
“Obviously it’s tough to lose there, but we did a lot of good things,” senior Jeff Reynolds said. “We know ourselves as a baseball team a lot better.”
Though the outcome may not suggest it, the Crimson managed to outhit its opponents in five of the six games. The offensive success marked a welcome departure from last season for Harvard, when it struggled to get consistent hitting from much of the lineup.
“We definitely swung the bats pretty well, but we’re struggling to string hits together,” Reynolds said.
Sophomore Steve Dill, who is currently leading the Crimson with a .382 average, had nine hits in the six-game stretch, while classmate Carlton Bailey added seven more. Rookies Zach Boden and Mike Martin contributed an additional eight and six, respectively.
“A lot of underclassmen were really stepping up for us, which is great because we’re really going to need them come the next few weeks,” senior pitcher Brent Suter said.
Although Harvard took several positives out of the weekend, the team faltered on defense in both series, racking up a total of 13 errors. Those mistakes, along with several errant pitches, cost the Crimson precious runs, often allowing its opponents to stage late comebacks.
NO. 19 CENTRAL FLORIDA 6, HARVARD 5
After taking down then-No. 19 Stetson on March 11, Harvard looked as though it was poised to take down Central Florida, the new owner of the No. 19 ranking, on Sunday afternoon. But a late surge by the Knights handed the Crimson its sixth loss in as many days.
Harvard gained momentum from Dill and Bailey—who went 4-for-4 and 2-for-3, respectively—to jump out to an early 4-0 lead by the end of the second inning. But later, four walks, two errors, and one hit batter gave Central Florida the opportunity to get back into the game.
“As a pitching staff, we had too many walks, myself included,” Suter said. “We were consistently missing way too far and hitting guys, so we really need to minimize those mistakes.”
The Knights capitalized with three runs in the sixth and two runs in the seventh, claiming the lead and eventually the win.
CENTRAL FLORIDA 4, HARVARD 2
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