The Crimson improved to 5-2 on the season with the pair of wins. (Gil Talbot)
MACON, Ga. – The Harvard baseball team took both ends of its doubleheader with Mercer on Saturday, as the Crimson (5-2) defeated the Bears consecutively, 6-2 and 8-7 at Claude Smith Field.
Once again, Harvard received solid efforts from its staff on the hill, with both starters Nick Gruener and Matt Timoney picking up victories on the day. In the first game, Gruener was electric, tossing 7.1 innings of three-hit ball, giving up just one run, while walking two and striking out four. Timoney gave up six runs over 4.2, only three of them earned. The senior, who had the run support to help, struck out and walked one before yielding the bump to Dylan Combs.
Offensively, Harvard continued its outpouring of hits in the series, combining for 22 on Saturday – 10 in game one, 12 in game two. Mike Martin (3-for-7, 2R, 1RBI), Mitch Klug (4-for-9, 1R, 1RBI), Jake McGuiggan (4-for-9, 3R, 3RBI), Connor Quinn (3-for-8, 2R) and Steve Dill (2-for-4, 3R) all found success at the plate; each Crimson enjoyed multi-hit outings.
The first game was a pure pitchers' duel in the early going, before Harvard spread out its six runs over the last six innings. Quinn was responsible for two runs in the top of the fourth, plating Martin with a single up the middle, before being brought home by a Klug double to make it 2-0. Colton extended the lead in the fifth with a sac fly to bring in Dill, while Ethan Ferreira sent a double to the left-center gap to bring home Drew Reid in the sixth to make it 4-0 in favor of the Crimson
Mike Martin then ripped a home run to give the Crimson extra comfort ahead in the seventh, the first home run for Harvard this season. Mercer cut into the lead with a home run itself in the bottom of the eighth, but Reid reached safely on an error, allowing Dill to come across to make it the final 6-1 in the top of the ninth. From there, Kevin Rex kept the Bears at bay, throwing 1.2 innings of no-hit ball to ensure the win.
In game two, the two clubs went back-and-forth to start things up. Martin put Harvard up 1-0 after drawing a walk, stealing second, making it to third on a wild pitch and coming home on a passed ball. Mercer tied things up in the bottom of the inning, but the Crimson tacked on two more in the second; Hink led off with a single, and was brought home by McGuiggan's double down the left field line. McGuiggan eventually came around after Colton sent out another sacrifice fly.
Mercer made it 3-2 in the bottom of the inning, and then tied things up at 3-3 in the third. But the Crimson enjoyed a four-run fourth inning to make it 8-3. Five hits, capped off by a pair of base-knocks from Reid and Quinn to score Dill and Colton successively.
The Bears made things interesting in the bottom of the fifth, adding three runs on three hits and one error to make it 8-6, eventually making it 8-7 in the bottom of the seventh, but the Crimson hurlers finished the deal. Ian Miller and Tanner Anderson combined for three shutout innings, not allowing a hit over that span, while striking out three.
With the win, Harvard looks for the series sweep Sunday at 1 p.m.