Harvard Baseball Splits with Cornell in Wild Doubleheader

Fallon had another big day at the plate and in the field for Harvard. (Gil Talbot)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – It was a tale of two games on Easter Sunday on the diamond between Harvard and Cornell, as the two Ivy League clubs split the last inter-division series of the season. The Crimson (14-13, 3-5 Ivy) walloped the Big Red (8-16, 5-3 Ivy) in the first game of the doubleheader, 14-2, but things got defensive in Game 2 as Cornell snuck away with a 5-4 victory, despite a three-run Harvard rally in the ninth.

Once again, John Fallon carried the hot bat for the Crimson as the freshman belted an impressive .714 (5-for-7, 2R, 4RBI) after batting .750 the day before. Mike Martin hit .625 on the day (5-for-8, 2R, 3RBI) and nearly had the chance to come home to tie things up in the bottom of the ninth in Game 2. Drew Reid also had a day at the plate, going 4-for-8 (.500) with two runs scored.

On the mound, Sean Poppen dominated his outing in Game 1, throwing a complete-game 7-inning gem, allowing just two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and one walk issued. The two runs came on one swing of the bat as the wind carried a home run over the right field fence.

Game 1 – Harvard 14, Cornell 2
After Poppen set the Big Red down in order in the top of the first inning, including two strikeouts in the frame, Harvard went to work in an impressive offensive showing. The Crimson scored six runs in the opening stanza on five hits and one error. Jake McGuiggan, D.J. Link, Fallon and Mike Martin all earned RBI in the explosive inning to put the Crimson up a six-spot to give Poppen a nice cushion moving forward.

The Harvard ace continued to deal through the second, retiring the side once again, before the Crimson bats added three more in the bottom half. Following a one-out McGuiggan double to left that touched the wall at the 370 mark, Link went the opposite direction for a two-RBI double, scoring McGuiggan and Ferreira, who reached base with a walk. Fallon added his third RBI of the day in the next at bat, bringing Link across to make it 9-0 after two full innings.

Harvard made it 11-0 in the third as McGuiggan brought home Martin on a fielder's choice, before scoring himself thanks to a single through the right side by Ferreira. But the Big Red struck in the top of the fourth as Tatum sent a wind-aided bomb over the right field wall to cut the lead to 11-2. The Crimson's lead, though, was never in doubt and grew to 12 runs after the fifth and sixth. After all was said and done, Harvard managed 14 runs on 16 hits, while Poppen yielded just two on four to the Big Red to earn his third win of the season.

Game 2 – Cornell 5, Harvard 4
The second game was quite a different story, as the tide turned to a pitchers' duel and a stellar defensive campaign. In the top of the first, Tanner Anderson appeared to be in trouble with two in scoring position with two outs, but McGuiggan made the extra effort to stab a ball on the first base line for the third out, preventing runs from coming across.

The two sides were scoreless through four full innings before the Big Red pounded out three runs on four hits in the top of the fifth. Anderson did well through the first four innings, seeing the minimum twice thanks to double plays, but Cornell finally broke out to take a 3-0 lead.

Harvard cut into that lead as Fallon drove in yet another run, making it 3-1, but Cornell tacked on two more over the seventh and ninth innings. In the top of the ninth, freshman Ian Miller, who picked up the win over Holy Cross on Wednesday with four innings of lights-out work, took control with two on and nobody out; eventually Cornell had the bases chucked with no outs, but Miller settled in and allowed just one run. He induced two pop ups and a nice throw from Fallon to Ferreira at home represented another out.

 Facing a 5-1 deficit looming in the bottom of the ninth inning, Harvard showed its heart and attempted a late rally with small-ball skill. Link led off the inning with a single to right, before being replaced on the base paths by Matt Sanders. Fallon followed up with a single through the left side, and Connor Quinn sent a hard shot to short moving everyone up a station, loading the bags with no outs. From there, deep in the count, Jack Colton slapped a hard liner over the shortstop's head into left, scoring sanders to make it 5-2. From there, Martin reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on an error; on the play, Quinn scored, as did Fallon to make it 5-4. The next at bat saw Martin steal third, putting the tying run a base away. But Cornell was able to end things quickly with a fly out to center to force the series split between the two.

Up next, Harvard remains in the Bay State, but heads to Amherst to take on UMass for the third time this season. This outing, however, is the first round of the Beanpot. The winner of Wednesday's showdown will square off with the winner of Boston College-Northeastern in the Beanpot Championship game in Fenway Park on April 22.