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Beanpot Blues: Harvard Baseball Drops Famed Boston Title to Boston College in Close 5-4 Battle

The Harvard men’s baseball team lines up for the national anthem in its Beanpot title game against No. 11 Boston College. The Crimson lost 5-4 to the Eagles in a hard-fought title match.
The Harvard men’s baseball team lines up for the national anthem in its Beanpot title game against No. 11 Boston College. The Crimson lost 5-4 to the Eagles in a hard-fought title match. By Courtesy of Philip Tor/Harvard Athletics
By Jack Canavan, Crimson Staff Writer

In the annual Beanpot Tournament final, the Harvard men’s baseball team faced No. 11 Boston College in a winner-take-all matchup, falling to the Eagles 5-4 despite a hard-fought effort.

After defeating Northeastern on April 4 in their first-round game, the Crimson’s matchup with the Eagles marked the 32nd anniversary of adding baseball to the historic Beanpot Tournament. Famed for its historic hockey rivalries, the Beanpot Tournament is an annual tournament where Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, and Northeastern compete for an in-season, Boston bragging rights championship with nothing but history on the line for hockey, basketball, and baseball teams alike. In early February, then-No. 9 Harvard men’s hockey lost in a 3-2 shootout thriller to then-No. 16 Northeastern, giving the Huskies the historic Boston trophy.

Making a four-mile trek to the Eddie Pellagrini Diamond at the Harrington Athletics Village of the Eagles in Brighton, Mass, the Crimson hoped to build on its six-game winning streak and three consecutive Ivy League series victories.

After having their worst start in a season since 2013 at 2-14, Harvard has completely flipped the switch entering Ivy League play. Defeating Penn, Dartmouth, and Princeton in consecutive weeks, along with additional victories against Northeastern and Holy Cross, the Crimson has taken control of its season just when things seemed unsalvageable. Going 9-3 in that span, Harvard entered its matchup against their highest-ranked opponent of the year at no better time.

“For us to be 7-2 [conference record] going into the weekend in league competition is a short-term testament to our club,” head coach Bill Decker said. “We [have to] keep on moving, weekend by weekend.”

Having defeated five AP Top 25 ranked teams this season, Boston College easily shaped up to be the Crimson’s toughest game of the year. Falling behind 3-0 in the first four innings, the Crimson erupted for four runs in the top of the fifth. The Eagles equalized Harvard with a run in the bottom of the sixth, and after a two-and-a-half inning scoring drought on both sides, Boston College ended things on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth.

Playing at BC’s home stadium, the Crimson walked to the plate in the top of the first to kick things off. Unfortunately, Harvard neither kicked nor hit anything, going three up, three down to begin.

Handing the ball to senior Will Jacobsen, the Crimson took the field in the bottom of the inning. Jacobsen’s day at the mound began with some turbulence, hitting two of his first four batters and walking another. With the bases loaded, the Eagles scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch to put Boston College up 1-0 with runners on second and third. Jacobsen then walked another runner, loading the bases again before a fly-out by BC ended an eventful inning.

After the inning ended, Decker commented that the team “just tried to minimize damage.”

First-year Gio Colasante runs the bases at the Beanpot on Tuesday night. Colasante, an infielder and right-handed pitcher from Staten Island, N.Y., scored his second double of the season in the game.
First-year Gio Colasante runs the bases at the Beanpot on Tuesday night. Colasante, an infielder and right-handed pitcher from Staten Island, N.Y., scored his second double of the season in the game. By Courtesy of Philip Tor/Harvard Athletics

A quiet second inning on both sides briefly stalled Boston College from widening the score gap, but a pair of home runs in the bottom of the third inning by the Eagles pushed the Crimson into a 3-0 deficit. Jacobsen ended his day at the end of the third, finishing with 3 ER in three innings pitched.

At the opposite side of the diamond, the Harvard bats stayed rather quiet through the fourth inning, except for a second-inning single by senior Zach Brown and a fourth-inning double by first-year Gio Colasante.

The scoreboard remained blank for the Crimson until a fifth-inning explosion pushed Harvard back into contention. Back-to-back singles by sophomore Matt Gilberti and senior Hunter Baldwin gave the Crimson runners first and second bases to open the inning. Harvard proceeded to load the bases in the next at-bat when junior Peter Messervy was hit by a pitch.

The Crimson capitalized on the moment when junior Ben Rounds roped a double to left, driving in Gilberti and Baldwin while advancing Messervy to third. With it cut to one at 3-2 and runners on second and third, senior Logan Bravo saw four straight balls and walked to third, reloading the bases for the second time in the inning. On the next at-bat, junior Jake Berger was hit by a pitch, resulting in another run for the Crimson and loading the bases for a third time. In similar fashion, freshman Jordan Kang’s walk in the following at-bat drove in an additional run and kept the bases filled up, putting Harvard in the lead for the first time in the game at 4-3 before the end of the top of the fifth.

Silent plate appearances by the Eagles and the Crimson kept the score constant entering into the bottom of the sixth, where an RBI groundout by Eagles’ third baseman Pat Roche equalized the score at 4-4.

Harvard fired blanks for the next two innings, unable to reach base in both the seventh and eighth innings. Stirring up some noise with two outs in the ninth inning, Harvard loaded the bases off of walks from Ben Rounds and Jake Berger sandwiching a Logan Bravo single. Unfortunately, Harvard struck out to end the inning, leaving the three runners stranded.

On the first at-bat of the ninth, Eagles third baseman Nick Wang homered to left center, walking off the Crimson in crushing fashion.

This weekend, the Crimson will return to home base for another conference series against Cornell. Tied with Columbia at the top of the Ivy League standings, how Harvard fares in Ivy League play will determine if the Crimson can pull off an NCAA postseason berth that would have seemed improbable three weeks ago.

But for the time being, Harvard plans to take things one game at a time.

“The only thing that matters right now is what’s gonna happen tomorrow,” Decker said.

— Staff writer Jack Canavan can be reached at jack.canavan@thecrimson.com.

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