They say everything is bigger in Texas, and unfortunately for the Harvard baseball team this past weekend, that meant its deficits were as well.
The Crimson (1-9) continued to struggle early in the season and was swept by No. 27 Rice (14-7), which outscored Harvard 26-4 over the course of the three-game series.
“We didn’t make many plays, we didn’t make many pitches,” sophomore outfielder Mike Martin said. “To sum it up, we didn’t do anything right.”
RICE 12, HARVARD 0
The Owls handed the Crimson its ninth-straight loss Sunday afternoon with a dominant performance.
Kevin McCanna, Connor Mason, and Evan Rutter limited Harvard to one hit—a Mitch Klug second-inning single—while the Owls scored three runs in each of the first two innings to jump on Crimson freshman starter Sean Poppen.
In the opening frame, Rice took advantage of a two-out error on sophomore third baseman Nick Saathoff that opened the door for three runs. With runners on first and third, Keenan Cook singled home one, and Michael Aquino then ripped a triple into the left field corner to bring home two more.
In the following inning, Ford Stainback singled off Poppen with the bases loaded to drive in two, and a sacrifice fly plated another for the Owls.
After Rice loaded the bases again in the bottom of the sixth, Harvard manager Bill Decker pulled Poppen in favor of freshman Shaun Rubin. Rubin allowed a single to left by Leon Byrd, scoring one, and following a sacrifice fly by Ford Stainback, Cook’s two-out RBI triple scored three more and pushed the lead to 11-0. In the following inning, a double, wild pitch, and Michael Ratterree RBI single added the 12th run.
“They hit in key situations, they played great defense, [and] their pitchers threw strikes—a lot of things we need to do better,” senior infielder Robert Wineski said.
RICE 9, HARVARD 2
The Owls’ bats also got going early on Saturday. The squad scored five runs against junior starter Peter Kaplan, who failed to escape the first inning.
Byrd walked and stole second, and then Stainback singled and did the same. With two runners in scoring position, Christian Stringer ripped a triple down the right field line to plate both, and Connor Teyki’s single through the left side brought Stringer home.
Teyki was thrown out trying to steal, but two more singles and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for the Eagles. Kaplan then drilled Skyler Ewing, and his replacement, freshman Matt Sanders, walked Byrd to give Rice its fifth run.
With two outs in the following inning, Cook singled, stole second, and scored on an Aquino single to make it 6-0.
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