Progressive Labor Party Organizes Solidarity March With Harvard Yard Encampment


Encampment Protesters Briefly Raise 3 Palestinian Flags Over Harvard Yard


Mayor Wu Cancels Harvard Event After Affinity Groups Withdraw Over Emerson Encampment Police Response


Harvard Yard To Remain Indefinitely Closed Amid Encampment


HUPD Chief Says Harvard Yard Encampment is Peaceful, Defends Students’ Right to Protest

Harvard Baseball Is Swept By Troy, Starts the Season 0-3

Sophomore Max Lane takes a hack last year against Princeton. Lane made an outfield assist in the first game against Troy, but the Crimson still fell short.
Sophomore Max Lane takes a hack last year against Princeton. Lane made an outfield assist in the first game against Troy, but the Crimson still fell short. By Cory K. Gorczycki

The last time the Harvard baseball team (0-3, 0-0 Ivy) traveled to Alabama, its play in the opening series of the 2020 season was an omen of things to come. After being swept by the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson’s season was over just two weeks later, dashed by COVID-19. Four years later, and with the pandemic having come to an end, the Crimson still struggled to find its footing down south, losing its first three games of the season to Troy (7-1, 0-0 Sun Belt).

Over opening weekend, the Crimson trotted out a squad that it hoped might be able to lead it to continued success in conference play. In 2023, Harvard went 15-6 against its Ancient Eight rivals, earning the second seed in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, where it made the semifinals. However, the team struggled to a mere 5-8 record against non-Ivy teams. To prepare itself for conference play, the Crimson will start the season on an extended 17-game road trip, where it will be tested with series in both of the Carolinas as well as in Tennessee.

The Crimson returns key line-up contributors like junior George Cooper, the lead-off hitter who hit .333 last year with 15 extra-base hits, as well as senior infielders Jake Berger and Chris Snopek. In the rotation, Harvard went with righties Sean Matson, Tanner Smith, and Callan Fang as their opening trifecta against Troy, all of whom showed flashes of brilliance at some point last season. Fang, despite being roughed up by the Trojans this weekend, will be a player to watch after being named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year last season. The Crimson offense and pitching staff will both be looking to bounce back after scoring just 7 runs while allowing 29 across the three-game series.

“Troy’s just an unbelievable offense to pitch against and they had really good pitching as well,” Matson said. “I think we learned a lot and I think we’re excited for the next one.”

Harvard 3, Troy 4

Harvard flexed its offensive muscles early on, underscoring the offensive firepower it will have the rest of the season to develop. With one out in the top of the first, senior second baseman Ben Rounds clobbered a home run off of the Trojans’ starter, righty Grayson Stewart. Rounds hit six home runs in 162 at-bats last season, tying him with Jake Berger for second-most on the 2023 squad after former starting first-baseman Logan Bravo ’23.

The Trojans struck back instantly, though, matching Rounds’ solo homer with a home run of their own from lead-off hitter Kole Myers, who would prove to be a Crimson-killer throughout the weekend. After Myers tied the game at one apiece, Matson bounced back to strike out the next batter swinging, but then worked himself into a jam by issuing three consecutive walks. With the bases loaded, the junior bore down, striking out the Trojans’ Kyle Mock with an elevated fastball and then coaxing a groundout out of catcher Blake Sutton.

Matson, who always pitches out of the stretch, explained his mental approach to dealing with runners on the basepaths.

“The approach is just to minimize if there’s no outs, and if you got something like bases loaded with one out like in the Troy game, the goal is to get weak contact,” the righty said.

The Crimson struck next to break the tie, again using the long ball to its advantage. After sophomore catcher Sawyer Feller drew a lead-off walk, freshman Tyler Shulman made the most of his first at-bat for the Crimson. The Calabasas, Calif. native turned on a ball that caught the heart of the plate and sent it soaring over the scoreboard in right field, staking the Crimson to a 3-1 lead. Shulman – the only freshman to crack the starting line-up in the opening series – validated Coach Bill Decker’s decision to give him first pass at the starting shortstop role with his impressive performance.

Matson mostly kept the Trojans at bay after ceding the home run in the first, continuing to allow the Trojans to reach via base-on-balls but stranding runners once they reached. The dam almost broke in the fourth, but Matson escaped unscathed due to two major assists from his teammates.

The inning started with a strikeout of Troy’s Mikey Bello, Maton’s fifth of the night. After the Trojans’ Aidan Gilroy reached on a fielding error by Snopek with one out, Jake Berger made an outstanding play at third, diving to his left to stop a ground ball that had the outfield grass in its sights and firing to second for the force-out. Then, with two outs, Troy’s Evan Kavanagh drove a ball to right field. The ball looked like it might clear the wall and tie the game, but it hit off the scoreboard, where it was fielded by sophomore right-fielder Max Lane. Lane fired the ball back into the infield to Snopek, the cut-off man, who cut Gilroy down at the plate with a strike to Feller. The lead remained Harvard’s to protect.

“That was huge for our momentum,” Matson said of the Lane-Snopek connection to nail the runner. “Coming out of that inning without giving up a run and making that play down the line.”

But with Matson’s pitch count elevated after working through multiple jams, the Trojans successfully chipped away at the lead in the fifth and sixth. In the fifth, it was Harvard pitching’s propensity for walks that cost the Crimson. After Matson issued his sixth free pass of the evening and hit a batter, he was replaced by freshman Andrew Abler, who also struggled with his control. Abler retired the first two batters he faced but then issued a walk to Sutton to load the bases. Needing just one more out to escape the inning, Abler lost Bello as well, walking in a run to cut the lead to 3-2 before shutting the door on the inning by striking out Gilroy.

The lead vanished entirely in the sixth, with Myers striking again with a home run to start the bottom of the inning. By the top of the seventh, both teams’ starters had been pulled and the game settled into a relief pitchers’ battle. Only one runner reached for either team through the seventh and eighth innings, putting a walk-off victory on the radar for Troy.

In the top of the ninth, the Crimson couldn’t generate any offense to put pressure on the Trojans, with Snopek striking out looking to send the game to the bottom of the ninth. Decker opted for a pitching change, pulling Abler after four innings of work where the only hit he allowed was the home run to Myers. The next man up for Harvard was a player familiar to Crimson fans from both the diamond and the gridiron, junior pitcher Cole Cleary, who is also a wide receiver for the football team.

Cleary’s first outing of the season was short-lived, as the righty recorded only one out. After a groundout to start the inning — with Snopek making a fantastic jumping play at first to corral a high throw from Shulman — Cleary lost the zone. After outfielder Shane Lewis was beaned (the second time the Trojans outfielder was hit) and Tremayne Cobb walked, Brooks Ryan took an inside breaking ball to the hip, loading the bases. With Sutton at bat, Cleary uncorked a fastball that went clean behind the batter, skipping to the batstop where Feller chased it down. The catcher didn’t have time to make a throw back to the dish, however, before Lewis slid in safely for the winning run.

As Cleary and the rest of the Crimson walked off the field, the Trojans celebrated their series-opening victory, one that they snatched from the jaws of defeat. Troy waged persistent at-bats against the three Crimson pitchers and capitalized on Harvard’s wildness, scoring half of its runs off of free passes or wild pitches and the other half from the long ball.

Harvard 3, Troy 14

The Crimson looked to rebound from Friday’s tough loss the following afternoon, with Snopek and Shulman getting on base with one out in the top of the second inning. A wild pitch followed by an infield single by junior utility man William Lybrook plated Snopek to put Harvard up 1-0. Freshman shortstop Jack Rickheim reached on a fielder’s choice to second base, with Lybrook being forced out. Rickheim was then caught trying to steal second, thwarting the Crimson’s opportunity to build on its lead.

In the bottom of the second, Troy immediately responded with a barrage of runs. Junior starting pitcher Tanner Smith struggled to find the strike zone, walking the leadoff batter on four pitches to start the bottom frame of the inning. A single followed by an error by junior center fielder Matt Giberti put Smith and Harvard’s defense in a jam, with runners on second and third with no outs. Troy catcher Brooks Bryan then blasted a ball over the center field fence, putting the Trojans up 3-1 with no outs.

Junior Tanner Smith took the mound in game two, allowing six runs in one and a third innings.
Junior Tanner Smith took the mound in game two, allowing six runs in one and a third innings. By Dylan J. Goodman

With one out, Snopek muffed a toss from Smith on a routine play, allowing another runner to reach base. Troy junior outfielder Mikey Bello slammed a two run home run over the wall in right field, extending the Trojans lead to 5-1. Smith continued to struggle with his command and gave up two-straight walks with one out, marking the end of his outing. Sophomore left hander Brian Dowling entered the game in relief. Troy remained aggressive and successfully completed a double steal, putting runners on second and third with one out. Senior Will Butcher then hit the Trojans’ third home run of the inning, solidifying Troy’s hold on the game with an 8-1 lead. After allowing another double, Dowling settled in and finished off the inning with a lineout to center field and a strikeout.

The third and fourth innings flew by quickly, with both pitchers finding their groove. In the bottom of the fourth, Dowling struck out two batters. In the top of the 5th, after Harvard’s first two batters were retired, senior outfielder Peter Messervy singled to center, but was tagged out attempting to stretch his single to a double. In the bottom of the 5th, Dowling continued to roll, getting through the inning with a strikeout, a walk, and no runs allowed.

The Crimson offense found its bats once again in the top of the sixth. Rounds slapped a hard double down the third base line, plating senior left fielder George Cooper with one out. After a single by sophomore right fielder Max Lane, Jake Berger hit a sac fly to center, allowing Rounds to tag up and score. Down 8-3, Harvard demonstrated its resilience by slowly clawing back against the Trojans. However, the comeback was put to a halt when Snopek hit a flyout to center. A baserunning error by Lane, who failed to tag the base, ended the inning.

Troy continued to put the pedal to the medal in the bottom of the sixth, tacking on six more runs. After allowing three singles and two runs with no outs, Dowling was relieved by freshman pitcher Truman Pauley. Pauley gave up two walks and a hit by pitch against his first three batters, putting the Trojans ahead 12-3. After an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly, Troy ended the sixth up 14-3. The big innings with crooked numbers hurt the Crimson significantly in Saturday’s contest.

Harvard started off the seventh with two strikeouts and went scoreless despite two singles. Due to the NCAA’s 10 run rule, the game ended in the seventh with Troy winning by a final score of 14-3.

Harvard 1, Troy 11

In the final game of the series, the Crimson looked to shake off the rust and get its first win of the season. In the bottom of the first, sophomore pitcher Callan Fang hit a batter on his first pitch. Following a stolen base, a flyout, and an RBI groundout, Troy quickly got out to a 1-0 lead over Harvard in the series finale.

During the top of the second, Tyler Shulman and Peter Messervy hit back-to-back singles with one out. Sawyer Feller and Jordan Kang both struck out to end the Crimson’s opportunity to score, continuing Harvard’s series-long struggle to convert with runners on base. In the bottom of the second, Fang allowed a single followed by a two-run homerun to Brooks Bryan to put the Trojans up 3-0.

Harvard’s offense continued to stagnate, getting two hits in the third and fourth innings. In the bottom of the third, Fang allowed a leadoff home run to senior Kole Myers, putting Troy up 4-0. Then, both pitchers settled into their rhythms, not allowing any runs until the top of the fifth. In the top half of the fifth, Ben Rounds singled into left field with one out. Max Lane then put the Crimson on the board with an RBI double, narrowing the Trojan lead to 4-1. A foulout and a strikeout prevented Harvard from scoring another run in the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, Troy cemented its lead by tacking on three more runs off of Fang. Fang’s night ended with 4.1 innings pitched, widening the Crimson’s deficit to 7-1. Freshman Will Burns stepped in and gave up three more runs off of a two run double and a sacrifice fly to center, putting Troy up 10-1.

Harvard’s offense couldn’t heat up in the sixth and seventh innings, with the lineup producing a walk and a single. In the bottom of the seventh, Cleary started off the inning with two walks. Junior Nate Baxter came into the game and struck out the first hitter he faced. Then, he walked two more batters to end the game 11-1 in Troy’s favor due to the 10 run rule, which again prematurely ended the Crimson’s battle against Troy. The theme of the weekend was giving up innings with crooked numbers, which hurt Harvard’s chances in both Saturday and Sunday’s contests. Although it was swept in its first series of the year, the Crimson will look to rebound this weekend in South Carolina when it takes on The Citadel at 5:00 p.m. on ESPN+.

—Staff writer Jack K. Silvers can be reached at
—Staff writer Praveen Kumar can be reached at

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

BaseballSports Features

Related Articles

Lane Train