New Era of Harvard Baseball Begins Against Bucknell, Virginia

New Era of Harvard Baseball Begins Against Bucknell, Virginia

Ethan Ferreira returns to the Crimson after hitting .253 in 91 at-bats as a freshman (photo Harvard Athletic Communications).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.  Bill Decker, who is in his first year as The Joseph J. O'Donnell '67 Head Coach for Harvard Baseball, will take the Crimson to Charlottesville, Va., to start the 2013 campaign this weekend. Harvard is scheduled to play four games in two days with two against Bucknell and another pair against Virginia.

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New Skip
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.

Season Preview
Decker sat down with to preview the upcoming season.

Last Season

The Crimson played a challenging schedule that included wins over No. 19 Stetson, 5-1, March 11 and a pair of victories over crosstown rival and ACC foe Boston College. Harvard swept the Eagles with a 5-3 triumph April 4 and a 5-2 decision in the first round of the Beanpot at LeLacheur Park April 10. The Crimson nearly pulled off an improbable comeback from eight runs down in the Beanpot final, a week later, but Massachusetts eventually held on for an 8-7 win. Harvard kept its postseason hopes alive until the final weekend of the season, as it entered a four-game set with Dartmouth needing a sweep to force a tie at the top of the Red Rolfe Division standings. The Big Green would hold off the Crimson to earn its fifth straight division crown and end Harvard's season at 12-30 overall and 8-12 in Ivy League play.

Close Calls
The Crimson looks to improve in close games during the 2013 season. In 2012, Harvard lost 14 games by two runs or less with eight of those games decided by a single run. 

The Lineup
Harvard returns five position players that appeared in 24 or more games last season. Here is a capsule on each:

Mike Martin ● So. ● OF
40 G, .270/.338/365, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 12 SB
Batted in the leadoff spot 25 times, started in center 37 times and was the team's leader in stolen bases in 2012

Carlton Bailey ● Jr. ● INF
29 G, .304/.340/.391, 1 HR, 9 RBI
Highest returning batting average of qualifying players, started 18 games at shortstop in 2012

Ethan Ferreira ● So. ● C
35 G, .253/.330/.319, 1 HR, 11 RBI
Appeared primarily as a DH and outfielder in 2012 and is riding a team-high five game hit streak

Robert Wineski ● Sr. ● 3B
25 G, .220/.273/.268, 5 RBI
Earned 12 starts last season at first base and DH in 2012

Nick Saathoff ● So. ● 3B/SS
24 G, .316/.395/.474, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Went 4-8 with a homerun, four RBI and two runs scored in the last doubleheader vs. Dartmouth April 29, 2012

The Pitching Staff
Harvard returns four pitchers that threw more than 20 innings in 2012. Here is a capsule on each:

Tanner Anderson ● So. ● RHP
2-4, 31 IP, 7.84 ERA, 17 K, 13 BB
Threw six innings in the last game vs. Dartmouth, allowing six runs (three earned) in six innings

Baron Davis ● Jr.  ● RHP
2-2, 28.2 IP, 3.14 ERA, 13 K, 14 BB
Came out of the bullpen in 11 of 13 appearances

Matt Timoney  ● So. ● RHP
1-1, 28 IP, 7.39 ERA, 21 K, 12 BB
Went 7 1/3 innings and allowed one earned run in win over Boston College April 10

Matt Doyle  ● Sr. ● RHP
1-1, 22.2 IP, 3.57 ERA, 16 K, 15 BB
All 14 appearances were in relief

Current Hit Streaks
Ethan Ferreira – 5
Nick Saathoff – 2
Mike Martin – 1
Brandon Kregel – 1 

Current Reached Base Streaks
Ethan Ferreira – 9
Mike Martin – 5
Nick Saathoff – 2
Brandon Kregel – 1

No. 19 Virginia (Team Page)
The Cavaliers (7-0) have won the first seven games of the year by outscoring opponents, 73-19. Virginia is hitting .323 as a team and is led by sophomore infielder Branden Cogswell's .455 average. Three Cavaliers have already registered two or more home runs, including sophomore Kenny Towns' three bombs. Towns also owns the team-lead in RBI with 15, while classmates Derek Fisher (12) and Brandon Downes (10) have driven in at least 10. On the mound, seven pitchers have accounted for Virginia's seven wins with three players getting two starts apiece. Sophomore Nick Howard has thrown 10 innings of shutout baseball, freshman Brandon Waddell has allowed one earned run in 10.2 innings pitched and redshirt senior Scott Silverstein has a 1.59 ERA through 11.1 innings.

Series History
Harvard and Virginia have met 30 times, but have not seen each other on the diamond since 1965. The Crimson owns a 21-4-5 advantage in the all-time series that dates back to 1893. Harvard and Virginia tied the first game, 1-1, before the Crimson built a 13-0-4 lead over the Cavaliers. Virginia took the last meeting, a 2-1 ballgame in Charlottesville April 7, 1965.

Bucknell (Team Page) 
The Bison (0-6) is winless through six outings of the 2013 season. Bucknell has dropped three-game sets at Richmond and Duke to start the season with three of the losses coming by three runs or less. The team has struggled to find consistent hitting through the first two series and comes to Virginia scoring 1.33 runs per game with a .145 team batting average. Junior Dan Weigel has been a bad-luck loser on the mound, entering the weekend with a 0-2 record, 3.55 ERA and .229 opponent batting average in 12.2 innings pitched. Senior Dan Goldstein and sophomore Bryson Hough also have 0-2 marks with 4.35 and 6.23 earned run averages, respectively.

Series History
Harvard and Bucknell have met just one time on the baseball field. The Bison shutout Harvard, 4-0, during a spring break trip to Bradenton, Fla., March 10, 2003.

Up Next
Harvard travels to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to take on Ohio State (March 8), Coastal Carolina (March 9) and Ball State (March 10) next weekend. The Crimson will also make a nine-day, nine-game trip to Texas March 15-March 24, before opening at O'Donnell Field March 27 against Holy Cross.