CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard baseball team will make its way west to open up the 2014 campaign, as the Crimson looks to start the new year with a visit to Oral Roberts this weekend. Harvard and ORU will play a pair of doubleheaders, set for Friday and Saturday.
The Crimson, which finished last season 10-31 (7-13 Ivy League) looks to improve with a full roster and the addition of five newcomers. Harvard features 15 position players and 19 pitchers (14 righties and five lefties) this season, owning a deep roster built for the long-haul.
Keeping up with the Crimson
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Harvard played yet another tough slate in 2013, and opened up the season with a thrilling extra-innings win over Bucknell. The Crimson had to wait awhile for its next win, but it won the series at Houston Baptist with 4-3 and 6-1 wins over the Huskies. Harvard split four of its five Ivy League series last year, only dropping a four-game set to Dartmouth to close out the season. The Crimson ended the year with a 7-2 loss to crosstown rival and ACC foe Boston College in the Beanpot Consolation at Fenway Park.
Back in Action
Last year's leading bat, Brandon Kregel, returns to the lineup, but so do the dynamic duo of Jake McGuiggan and Kyle Larrow. Kregel led the Crimson last season with 156 at bats, 23 runs, 45 hits, 13 doubles, a pair of homers and 21 RBI, while batting .288 and slugging .436.
McGuiggan and Larrow return after a year off in the hopes of adding more firepower to the Crimson offense. Now a junior, McGuiggan hit .352 as a sophomore, piling on 17 runs on 43 hits with 21 RBI. Larrow, now a senior, batted .350 the last time he saw the field, crossing the plate 13 times with 12 RBI.
Sam Dodge returns to the hill for the Crimson, looking to lead the deep Harvard staff. Dodge hurled a team-high 49.2 innings last season, owning a 4.89 ERA and a 2-7 record in nine starts. The senior struck out a staff-high 40 batters last year on the bump as well.
Hitting Streaks Attached
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A Look at Oral Roberts
ORU enters the weekend with a 1-7 record, having just been swept by Texas Tech before a weekday loss to Missouri State on Tuesday. The Eagles, who have scored 22 runs this season, are led by Matt Brandy and Brandon Healy. Brandy is hitting .393 through the first few games with a team-high 11 hits and six RBI. Healy is batting a team-high .438 for ORU with three runs scored and five RBI.
On the hill, the Eagles sport a trio of starters in Gavin Glanz (1-1, 1.69 ERA), Guillermo Trujillo (0-1, 5.68 ERA) and Kurt Giller (0-2, 6.10 ERA). Colin Hightower and Haden Holley are the go-to relief arms, as both have seen at least three games so far.
This will be the first time in each program's storied histories that the Crimson and Golden Eagles will have met on the diamond.