Pictured: Max Perlman
Jacksonville, Ala. – The Harvard baseball team succumbed to defensive lapses in its 2011 season opener as the Crimson suffered a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Jacksonville State. JSU won the opener, 6-1, before coming back for an 8-4 win in the nightcap. The teams continue their four-game series with single games on Saturday and Sunday, weather pending.
Harvard (0-2) committed late-inning errors that led to three-run frames in each game while also stranding double-digit runners in each contest as well. JSU improved to 5-3 on the season with the sweep.
In the opener, JSU opened a 3-1 game with three unearned runs in the seventh en route to the 6-1 win.
JSU got off to a good start as Coty Blanchard took the first pitch he saw from Max Perlman (0-1) over the left field wall for a home run. He then led off the third with a single and eventually came around to score on an RBI groundout.
Harvard, which left six runners on base through the first five innings and eight through six, scratched for a run in the fourth as Jake McGuiggan lofted a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Despite the early homer, Perlman was on his game as he got four of the first five outs via strikeout, before JSU got its own unearned run in the fifth for a 3-1 lead. The senior righty finished his afternoon with six strikeouts in 5.2 innings against four hits and three walks.
Harvard's defense gave JSU the biggest scoring inning of the game as two errors led to three unearned runs against reliever Joey Novak, who was otherwise impressive with three strikeouts in 1.1 innings. Ben Sestanovich, who saw his first pitching work since 2009 due to arm troubles, added a scoreless inning of relief.
In the nightcap, Harvard out-hit their hosts, 12-10, but JSU scored four unearned runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pull away for the win.
Harvard put up three runs in the first inning as Way drew a bases loaded walk and Andrew Hatch delivered a two-run single.
JSU got an unearned run back in the second before Hatch plated another run with a bases loaded infield single in the fourth for a 4-1 margin.
In the bottom of the third, JSU put together a pair of two-out RBI singles but a fourth run was cut down at the plate by Sam Franklin in left field to end the inning.
JSU took its first lead in the fifth as the Gamecocks parlayed a pair of leadoff doubles into two runs for a 5-4 lead. A critical two-out error in the sixth gave way to three more JSU runs for an 8-4 lead. The relievers took care of business the rest of the way as Will Keuper, Rob Wineski and Dan Berardo kept the Gamecocks in check the rest of the way.
Brent Suter took the loss on the mound (0-1), allowing five runs (four earned) in 4.2 innings with four strikeouts against seven hits.