Heating Up



Crimson win three games and advance to the Beanpot Finals.

The first half the Harvard baseball team’s season has not been kind. However, some warmer weather at home may be just what the doctor ordered to heat up the Crimson. In a five-game week, the Crimson amassed three of their eight total wins this season in just this weekend. The team is now advancing to the finals of the Beanpot Tournament.

Last week’s games began on Wednesday against Boston College for the team. The Crimson fell behind early when Boston College opened the game with four runs in the first inning. However, Harvard fought back scoring one in the third, fourth, and sixth to pull within one while holding the Eagles scoreless until the ninth.

In the eighth, Harvard took the lead scoring three runs with two runs coming off the bat of shortstop Jake McGuiggan ’15. His double was not pretty, but was perfectly paced to drop between the infielder and the outfielder. With the runners moving on contact with two outs, McGuiggan’s hit worked just fine to give the Crimson a two-run lead. Boston College did not go quietly though. BC scored another run in the ninth to make the game close, but Harvard pitcher Sean Poppen ’16 was able to close the door for the save.

With the win over Boston College, Harvard advanced to the championship of the Beanpot Tournament. The finals will be on April 21st against the University of Massachusetts. The finals will take place at Northeastern University.

After the victory against Boston College, Harvard looked to carry its success into the weekend with a four-game series against Brown. Brown came into the weekend as one of the few teams who may have struggled even more than Harvard. Coming into the weekend, the Bears were winless in Ivy League play.

The Bears would not remain winless in the Ivy for long. In the first game of the four-game series on Saturday, Harvard jumped out to an early lead with runs in the second and third. However, Brown came up with a big fifth inning where they scored four runs. After a leadoff single, the wheels started to fall off the cart for the Crimson. A Brown bunt turned into a hit when Poppen could not field it.

Harvard did fight back by scoring a run in the seventh to tie the game. After singles by Carlton Bailey ’14 and Kyle Larrow ’14, Harvard’s leading hitter Mike Martin ’15 drove in the tying run. The lead though would not last. In the eighth Zack Olson ’14 took over the pitching duties for the Crimson from workhorse Poppen. Brown quickly took advantage. An error by the second baseman put Brown’s leadoff man on, and after a single, a bunt base hit, and a sacrifice fly, the Bears had taken the lead. Harvard went quietly to end the game.

The second game of the four-game series against Brown began in much the same way that the first game ended — Harvard was losing. By the end of the fifth inning, the Crimson trailed seven to three. Then, just as the weather quickly heated up here in Cambridge, the Crimson bats heated up in the seventh inning of this game.

In the seventh, Harvard scored seven runs. The inning started with a walk, a single, then another walk. Brandon Kregel ’15 singled to start the run party. Kregel’s single was followed by a double from Ethan Ferreira. Then, Nick Saathoff ’15 added two more runs on his single, and Bailey finished off the inning driving in the final two runs of the inning on a double of his own. Brown scored one more in the ninth, but ultimately Harvard’s seven-run seventh propelled them to their second victory of the week.
On Sunday, the bats continued to sizzle as Harvard beat Brown for its third win of the week. Harvard scored eight runs in the first inning that was capped by a three-run homerun from Kregel. Danny Moskovits ’14 pitched well enough for the Crimson to pull off a victory as he allowed three runs. Harvard tacked on five insurance runs to cruise to an easy thirteen to three victory.
However, as the weather is fickle at this point in the year, so too are the Harvard bats. In the second game of the Sunday doubleheader, the Crimson failed to score even one run off the Bears pitcher. For Harvard, Nick Greuner ’17 threw an outstanding game allowing only one run in over six innings. In the final inning, Brown was able to scrape across a run with consecutive singles to open the inning, followed by a sacrifice bunt and RBI.

All in all, it was a successful week in which Harvard nearly doubled its win total in the season. As the weather turns warmer, hopefully, the Crimson need the bats to stay hot as they continue Ivy League divisional play and prepare for the Beanpot championship.

Peyton Fine ’17 (peytonfine@college) thinks warmer weather could spell a hot streak for Harvard baseball.