Offense Comes Alive, But Baseball Splits Doubleheader with Columbia

McColl tallied a career-best five RBI in game one against the Lions (Nancy Poppen).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Returning to Ivy League action after a one-game departure, Harvard baseball earned a series split with Columbia, winning 11-3 and falling 4-3 (11 innings), on Saturday afternoon at O'Donnell Field. Harvard moved to 8-16 overall and 1-5 in Ancient Eight action, while Columbia is now 9-16 on the season with a 3-3 mark in conference play.

Game One- W, 11-3

The Harvard bats exploded for their second double-digit scoring output of the season, earning an 11-3 victory in game one. Freshman Patrick McColl led the charge with three hits and a career-high five RBI, while classmate Trent Bryan also set a new career-best with four RBI on two hits, both doubles. Senior Mitch Klug posted a game-high four runs.

Junior Nick Gruener took the mound for the Crimson, throwing his fourth-consecutive complete game to pick up his fourth win of the year. Gruener fanned eight over seven innings while allowing just one walk and three runs.

The Crimson struck first in the bottom of the first after an RBI groundout from McColl to plate Klug, and the squad tripled its advantage to 3-0 in the bottom of the third after RBI singles from McColl and Klug.

Columbia put their first tally on the board in the fourth after an RBI double, but the Crimson immediately responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Bryan started the sequence with an RBI groundout to plate freshman John MacLean, and McColl followed with a two-RBI single to score Klug and junior Josh Ellis. Sophomore Matt Rothenberg put a cap on the inning with an RBI single to right field to allow sophomore John Fallon to cross home.

Already leading 7-1, Harvard tacked on four runs in the bottom of the fifth to go ahead 11-1. Bryan cleared the bases with a double to deep left field, and McColl finished his career-best outing with a single up the middle to plate Bryan. Columbia put two runs on the board in the seventh, but Harvard took game one.

Game Two- L, 4-3 (11 innings)

The second game of the afternoon was highly contested for 11 innings, but the Lions pulled out the triumph with a late run.

Fallon connected on his Ivy-leading fifth home run of the season, and MacLean, Ellis and freshman Ben Skinner also recorded hits. Skinner tallied his sixth extra-base hit of the season with a clutch RBI triple in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.

Senior Sean Poppen stepped to the hill for the Crimson, scattering three hits and one run over five innings with three strikeouts. Seniors Nick Scahill, Kevin Rex and Sean O'Neill and junior Kevin Rex combined for six innings in relief.

An RBI fielder's choice put Columbia on the board in the opening stanza, but a sacrifice fly from Klug tied the score in the bottom of the third, 1-1. MacLean rounded third to score on the play.

Fallon gave Harvard a 2-1 lead with his fifth home run of the season, a frozen rope into the trees in left field. With an intentional walk and home run in the two games, Fallon has now reached base successfully in 17-straight contests.

The Harvard pitching recorded a trio of clutch strikeouts to close the middle innings, but Columbia went ahead, 3-2, after a two-run single in the top of the ninth.

Undeterred, Skinner tripled down the right field line with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, with junior Drew Reid sliding past the outstretched arm of Lions' catcher Logan Boyher to score the game-tying run.

The two teams played a scoreless 10th inning, but Columbia tallied the game-winning run in the top of the 11th after a run-scoring single up the middle.

Harvard gets back to work on Sunday, April 10 with a doubleheader against Penn at O'Donnell Field. First pitch is set for noon, and will be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network.