Seniors Clutch As Harvard Knocks Off Northeastern 16-13

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard came back from a seven run deficit Tuesday afternoon as the Crimson defeated Northeastern by a score of 16-13 in the final game of the 2009 season at O’Donnell Field.

Harvard’s senior class produced key performances throughout a wild affair that saw 29 runs on just 22 hits with 14 walks, five hit batsmen and 10 wild pitches. While Harvard utilized each healthy member of the senior class, the teams combined to use 34 players including nine pitchers.

Northeastern (22-17) jumped on Harvard in the first inning by scoring seven runs on four walks, three wild pitches and a grand slam homer form number-nine hitter Ryan Maguire.

Harvard (13-28, 8-4 Home) kept the game interesting by scoring twice in its half of the frame on an RBI groundout from captain Harry Douglas and a ringing double from senior Tom Stack-Babich.

The Crimson went to reliever Anthony Nutter, ho succeeded in shutting down a potent Northeastern lineup by allowing just a wind-blown homer in the third inning and throwing 6.1 innings all told, yielding just four hits while striking out four. Nutter would eventually be credited with the pitching victory as he retired 13 of the last 15 batters he faced with Harvard inching closer before breaking out in the seventh inning.

In the third, senior Jon Roberts launched the game’s biggest homer, a 400-foot shot high over trees surrounding the left-center field fence. That made the score 9-3 with NU still holding a healthy lead before the home side scratched for another single run in the sixth.

In the decisive seventh, Harvard scored 10 runs on seven hits to claim a 14-9 lead. Senior Matt Rogers had a pair of doubles in the inning while classmate Taylor Meehan was also on base twice in the frame with a key two-run single against NU’s top reliever, left-handed Andrew Leenhouts, who entered the game with a 1.64 ERA. Also contributing in the frame was senior Jared Wortzman who drew a bases loaded walk to mark his third-straight time on base (two singles). Sophomore Dillon O'Neill also plated a pair of runs with a long triple to the gap in left.

Northeastern grabbed four runs back in the eighth to make the score 14-13. Three of the runs were unearned as two key errors brought the Huskies back into contention. The inning ended however, when Dan Berardo came out of the bullpen to retire two batters with Meehan corralling a tough fly ball in a stiff wind out to right.

In the bottom of the frame, O’Neill drove home Tyler Albright (double) and would eventually score on a sacrifice fly from Jeff Reynolds to make the score 16-13.

As he did on Sunday in a win against league-leading Dartmouth, head coach Joe Walsh tabbed a senior to close out a victory when he brought Stack-Babich in from right field. The Scituate native struck out the side to earn his second save of the year and give the Crimson an 8-4 record at home this season.

Stack-Babich finished with two hits while Rogers was on base four ties with three runs. Meehan also scored three times and Douglas had two RBI while Wortzman finished 2-for-3.