Colton and the Crimson came from four runs down to earn a spot in the Beanpot finals in two weeks. (Photo: Harvard Athletic Communications)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard baseball team secured its spot in the 2014 Baseball Beanpot finals with a come-from-behind victory over Boston College at O'Donnell Field on Wednesday in the first round. The Crimson (6-18, 1-5 Ivy League) fell behind 4-0 to the Eagles (10-22, 2-10 ACC) before inching its way back and using a three-run eighth inning to earn the win.
Harvard will square off against UMass with the Beanpot on the line April 21 at Northeastern's Friedman Diamond. The Minutemen downed NU, 5-3, on Wednesday to firm up the finals.
Both Brandon Kregel and Jack Colton had a day at the plate, each grabbing a pair of hits. Kregel scored a run and boomed two doubles, while Colton scored once and drove home the Crimson's first run in the fourth to start the rally. Shortstop Jake McGuiggan was the driving force, however, plating two runs on a bloop double to right in the eighth to give Harvard its first lead of the game.
The Crimson got off to a rocky start against the visiting Eagles, allowing BC to scrape out four runs in the top of the first. Freshman lefty Kevin Rex got the call for Harvard, but was touched up for three hits over two-thirds of the opening frame, issuing three walks. Nick Scahill came on in relief of Rex in the early going, but threw a wild pitch that scored BC's fourth run. Scahill would stay on the mound for 1.2 innings, giving up just two hits, walking a batter and striking out one.
Harvard, on the other hand, couldn't find its rhythm early against BC's Eric Stevens as the senior righty set the Crimson down in order in the first and second. But with T.J. Laurisch on to pitch, Harvard was able to fend off any more Eagle runs. Laurisch came on in the third, sitting down four straight batters and got out of a jam by forcing the fifth to fly out with men in scoring position. In 3.2 strong innings of relief, Laurisch yielded just one hit, striking out five of the 15 batters he faced.
The Crimson first dented the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth, when Jack Colton brought home Mike Martin to make it 4-1. Harvard knocked in another run in the sixth as first baseman Steve Dill took one to the back with the bases loaded as Ethan Ferreira came across to cut BC's lead to 4-2.
After Greg Coman relieved Laurisch, the freshman lefty threw just two thirds of an inning, but got both outs via strikeout to end the top of the seventh unscathed. In the bottom of the eighth is when Harvard lit up. Kregel shot his second double of the day through the left side on the first pitch he saw of the inning to lead things off, and Colton followed up with an infield single. After Mitch Klug brought home Kregel on an infield fielder's choice, McGuiggan stepped up and plated two runs with his skying double to give Harvard a 6-4 lead.
The Eagles attempted a comeback off the arm of regular starter Sean Poppen, scoring once in the top of the ninth, but the sophomore righty buckled down and earned the save to give Harvard the 6-5 win and a place in the Beanpot finals.
Up next, the Crimson remain at home for four more as Red Rolfe Division rival Brown visits Cambridge for four games over Saturday and Sunday.