TULSA, Okla. – After falling just shy of two games in the first double header of the series with Oral Robert, the Harvard baseball team dropped another pair of close decisions to the Golden Eagles on Saturday. The Crimson (0-4) fell in two games to ORU (5-6), 5-3 and 6-5.
For the third and fourth games in a row, junior leftfielder Jack Colton grabbed a pair of hits for Harvard at the plate, totaling 4-for-10 with three RBI and a run scored. Second-baseman Kyle Larrow also found success at the dish, going 5-for-9.
In game one, Nick Gruener got the call for the Crimson and did well to make quick work of the ORU lineup through the first three innings. Gruener, who finished with 7.2 innings of five-hit ball, allowing three earned, while striking out six without issuing a walk, got nine of the first 10 batters he faced to either pop out or strike out through the end of the third.
The Eagles tacked on the first run of the day in the fourth, however, after Brandon Healy doubled to center, eventually coming around on the next at bat. The Crimson evened things up in the next frame, though, thanks to a Jake McGuiggan single to left. After the junior shortstop got himself on the base path, McGuiggan was eventually brought home by Colton on a double down the leftfield line.
Harvard took a lead three innings later as the Crimson brought two across in the top of the eighth. Back-to-back, Carlton Bailey and Mike Martin reached safely after errors to set in motion the two-run inning. After Martin reached on an error on a SAC bunt, Bailey found himself on third, giving the Crimson runners on the corners with no outs. Ethan Ferreira was intentionally walked in the next at bat, before Steve Dill reached on a fielder's choice. ORU's Matt Brandy tried to catch Martin at third, after Bailey had scored, but the errant throw brought Martin home as well, making it 3-1.
Gruener didn't allow a hit in the next three half innings, but the Eagles hit a hot streak in the bottom of the eighth. After a leadoff single from Audie Afenir, the Eagle catcher eventually made it around the bags after a wild pitch and a 6-3 from Emmanuel Forcier. Healy then countered with a double to right center, followed by a Brandy walk and a Jose Trevino triple to left center to clear the bases. That was all the Eagles would need as the four runs in the bottom of the eighth allowed ORU to escape with the 5-3 victory in game one.
Game two started off promising for the Crimson as Colton led off with a double down the leftfield line, eventually sent home after a Martin SAC fly to right for the early 1-0 lead. With Sam Dodge taking the reins, Harvard hoped to take the final game of the series.
ORU got a leadoff run of its own in the bottom of the first, thanks to a Forcier triple to right. But Dodge calmed down on the mound and struck out two in the frame. A double play ended the bottom of the second for the Crimson in tense fashion, but ORU grabbed a pair of runs in the third. Healy and Brandy, the two-three hitters, made it around the horn to make it 3-1 after three full innings.
Harvard retaliated in the top of the next frame, though, as Nick Saathoff and Mitch Klug each singled into open space, before Colton brought them both home with a single, advancing to second. Now tied 3-3, the Crimson took another lead, 4-3, in the top of the fifth. Brandon Kregel drew a leadoff walk to open the inning, and eventually was pushed across after a Klug single to right. After the Eagles got a run back in the bottom of the sixth, the home club tacked on two more in the bottom of the eighth to take a 6-4 lead into the ninth. Larrow singled with one out, making it to second after a Martin walk. Kregel then sent a deep single to left, and Larrow hustled home to bring the Crimson within 6-5, but Kyler Stout came on and got the last two Crimson bats to go swinging and looking to end the series.
Harvard returns to the diamond next weekend with another four-game series, this time at Lamar University.