Is there a new squad on the block to watch out for?
In perhaps the Harvard baseball team’s most dominant win over a strong team in over a year, the “Bad Boys” Crimson squad blew out Holy Cross, 10-2, on Wednesday night in Northborough, Mass. As of March 25, Harvard was ranked 175th on the RPI Division I baseball rankings, whereas Holy Cross, a stiff test, was ranked 108th.
After finishing its spring break trip 5-5, Harvard had to do one thing—get off to faster starts. After all, the squad was plagued all trip by early deficits that late rallies couldn’t bail them out of.
A week and a half later, the Crimson players looked to make good on their promise.
Like a loaded spring compressed for too long, Harvard (8-11) veritably launched out of the gates at the New England Baseball Complex in the Crimson’s first action since March 17, plating four runs in the top of the first inning before Holy Cross (7-11, 2-2 Patriot League) recorded an out.
“We’ve decided to establish ourselves as the ‘Bad Boys’ of the Ivy League,” said junior first baseman Pat McColl. “We came out right away and scored four runs in the first, so it was a good showing.”
Junior center fielder Ben Skinner got it started with a leadoff walk dealt by freshman righty Noah Luckenbaugh. Junior catcher Jake Allen—the team’s batting average leader—followed by drawing another free pass, and McColl made the rookie pay by lacing an RBI double to right. Sophomore outfielder Jake Suddleson then characterized the game with a three-run shot in the next at-bat, his third home run of the year.
As Suddleson came around to score, the scoreboard lit up 4-0 in the visitors’ favor before most of the fans had even found their seats.
“We all dyed our hair this week, being the bad boys that we are,” said sophomore pitcher/third baseman Hunter Bigge. “It really gave our team a lot of energy and we were able to hop on [Holy Cross] early in the game.”
Despite the wild hair colors staring at them from across the diamond, it was likely more shocking for the home team to look up at the scoreboard 15 minutes into the game.
Harvard wasn’t done scoring in the first. The squad, colorized hairdos and all, tacked on three more runs in the third inning on RBIs from junior outfielder P.J. Robinson, senior second baseman Matt Rothenberg, and Allen, running away to an early 7-0 lead. The Crimson stretched its lead to 10-0 before Holy Cross scored twice in the bottom of the ninth, though the game was already headed towards the deep freeze.
Harvard’s ability to keep the pressure on and safeguard the lead may have been just as important as its ability to surprise the Crusaders early in the game.
On the mound, freshman righty Buddy Hayward, already a two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week this season alone, got the start. The two-way player out of Plantation, Fla. tossed two innings and struck out three, walking one and giving up no runs.
“[Buddy] came out with some zip right away,” McColl said. “It’s definitely nice to have a big freshman like him who can pitch as well as hit.”
Six different Crimson pitchers worked relief innings to back Hayward up. Sophomore righty Grant Stone picked up the win after pitching clean third and fourth innings. The seven pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts of Crusader batsmen.
One player even made his collegiate pitching debut, despite having played 64 career games in a Harvard jersey. Junior John MacLean, an outfielder by trade, pitched for the Crimson for the first time in the seventh inning. MacLean looked like a veteran, striking out two batters in an efficient 1-2-3 inning.
“Johnny made his pitching debut on the mound and absolutely shoved,” McColl said.
MacLean, however, left it to his teammates to power the offense last night. McColl led the way with a three-for-six day at the plate, punching in three RBIs and scoring a run. Suddleson joined him in the run-producing category with his three-run first-inning bomb.
Skinner, continuing his season’s good form, got on base four times as the leadoff man and scored thrice. Rothenberg went two-for-three with a walk and a run scored. Bigge drew two walks, one of them plating a run in a bases-loaded situation.
Harvard, after seeing its games postponed last weekend against Princeton, which would have been the Ivy League kickoff, will next see action at Columbia on Saturday.
—Staff writer Bryan Hu can be reached at email@example.com.
Nine to Face Holy Cross On Soldiers Field at 3:45The varsity baseball team faces a champion with its hands tied on Soldiers Field at 3:45 p.m. today, when it
Baseball Snaps Five-Game Losing Streak in Home OpenerPropelled by a trio of relievers and clutch hitting, the Crimson was able to rebound from a weekend in which it lost three games on walk-off singles.
Baseball Wins One, Drops Three Against JacksonvilleDespite splitting the first two games, Harvard saw early slim leads slip away in both the next two matches and ultimately dropped three of four to the Dolphins.
Baseball Takes Three of Four From BrownThe Crimson split Saturday’s doubleheader with Brown before sweeping Sunday’s two games to improve to 16-20 on the season and 5-11 in conference play. The Bears (12-21, 5-11 Ivy League) have now lost 10 of their last 13 games and are tied with Harvard and Princeton for the worst conference record in the conference.
Baseball Goes 1-5 On Tough Carolinas Road Trip