Baseball Home Opener Set for Wednesday Against Holy Cross
Baron Davis picked up the win against Holy Cross last season (photo Erik Williams).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After playing its first 17 games of the season away from Cambridge, the Harvard baseball team will play its first game at O'Donnell Field on Wednesday. The Crimson square off against local rival Holy Cross in a 3:30 p.m. single game.
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Harvard (3-14) is riding its first two-game winning streak of the season after beating Houston Baptist in the final two games of a three-game set, 4-3 and 6-1. In its spring break finale, Harvard benefited from a 113-pitch complete game three-hitter from Sean Poppen. The freshman struck out three and allowed just one earned run to advance his record to 1-1 on the season. Ethan Ferreira had two hits and a RBI, while Mike Martin, the team's leading hitter at .367, went 1-for-3 with two walks, drove in two runs and score three times.
Bill Decker comes to Harvard from Trinity (Conn.), where he went 529-231 (.696) during the last 22 seasons. A four-time New England Coach of the Year, Decker was one of the most decorated head coaches in the Division III ranks. His best season came in 2008, when he led Trinity to an undefeated regular season en route to a 45-1 record and the Division III national title. Decker was named the 2008 ABCA National Coach of the Year after leading the Bantams to a Division III record 44 straight wins. He takes over the Crimson from the late Joe Walsh, who tragically passed away after the conclusion of the 2012 season.
Scouting Holy Cross
The Crusaders (6-13) have won six games this season, including a four-game sweep of Yale in New Haven, Conn., last weekend. Holy Cross has also taken down Temple and St. Louis and is hitting .274 as a team. The lineup is producing 5.7 runs per game, but the pitching staff owns a 7.62 earned-run average. Andrew Barry leads the team with a .348 batting average and Jordan Enos is at .339. Evan Ocello is the top slugger on the squad and enters the contest with a team-leading nine extra-base hits and 15 RBI.
Harvard trails 63-102 in the long history between the two teams. Holy Cross and the Crimson first met on the diamond April 21, 1883, with the Crusaders taking a 17-5 decision, and have since played 165 times in 130 years. Harvard snapped a four-game losing streak against Holy Cross last year with a 7-6 win in Worcester, Mass. Carlton Bailey went 3-for-3 in the most recent game and Harvard used 10 pitchers to hold off the Crusaders.
The Crimson opens Ivy League play this weekend at Columbia (Saturday) and Penn (Sunday) with a pair of doubleheaders. Harvard's next home games will be April 6 for two games versus Cornell and April 7 for two more against Princeton.