GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Harvard baseball team dropped a pair of games to Michigan State on Saturday, but the Crimson was able to keep things close with its Big Ten in the doubleheader. MSU edged out Harvard, 1-0, in the first game of the twinbill, before taking the second, 4-0.
In game one, the Crimson battled with Sean Poppen on the hill. Poppen tossed 6.0 innings, giving up just one earned run on four hits, while striking out six and walking one. He took care of the Spartans bats early, allowing just one hit over the first four innings of work. The sophomore struck out five, including getting the side to go swinging in the bottom of the fourth.
Even though Harvard stayed in the thick of things, Michigan State got its crucial run in the bottom of the fifth. A leadoff double from Joel Fisher started things off as he came around to score after a sac fly from PJ Nowak two batters later.
From there, though, Harvard only mustered one last hit over the final four innings, as MSU ran away with the 1-0 victory.
In game two, the Spartans jumped out to a 2-0 lead early on Nick Gruener on the mound. Gruener, who has been solid for the Crimson this season, went five innings, allowing just six hits, but three earned runs. The freshman struck out five batters along the way, as well.
After a pair of one-out singles from the Spartans, a Ryan Krill double to right scored a pair of runs to put MSU up early. Brandon Kregel looked to get things rolling for the Crimson to start the second, but Justin Alleman shut Harvard down.
In the top of the fourth, however, Harvard almost got on the board. After Jack Colton drew a leadoff walk, Ethan Ferreira moved him to second, before Steve Dill walked to load the bases. But Alleman got Mitch Klug to foul out to end the threat.
Into the sixth, Harvard kept Michigan State at bay, but the Spartans added two more runs after a leadoff double, a follow-up single and a Jimmy Pickens triple to clear the bags. MSU rode the lead into the top of the ninth, allowing just one hit through the last three innings to take the second game, 4-0.
The Crimson is tentatively back tomorrow, pending weather issues. Harvard and Michigan State are set for the series rubber match at noon on Sunday.