Army Holds off Harvard Baseball, 4-2 and 5-4

Joey Novak
Joey Novak

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army's Kevin McKague combined to go 2-for-5 with three runs batted in while saving both of the Black Knights' wins on the mound in a doubleheader from Harvard on Friday afternoon at Doubleday Field.

McKague was 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored in the opening game to help the Black Knights take a 4-2 decision from the Crimson. The senior then drove home a run during Army's five-run seventh inning uprising as the Black Knights rallied for a 5-4 victory in the nightcap.

McKague, who starts at first base, but also doubles as Army's closer, struck out the side in picking up the save in the first game. He earned his second save of the day, and fourth of the season, in the nightcap.

The Black Knights, who have won eight of their last 10 games, improve to 13-6 on the season following today's sweep. Harvard, meanwhile, falls to 1-14 on the year. The Crimson has lost nine games decided by two runs or fewer.

Army jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning in the opener as the Black Knights pushed across three runs on three extra base hits.

Harvard got to Army starter Chris Rowley in the top of the top of the fifth inning as the Crimson scored two runs on two hits to pull to within 3-2. Carlton Bailey singled to lead off the frame, and he moved to second base when Jake McGuiggan walked. Ethan Ferreira then blasted a double into the gap in left center field to plate both Bailey and McGuiggan. After Rowley got Jon Smart to ground out to first base for the first out of the inning, Ferreira was cut down at home plate when J.T. Tomes was unable to execute a squeeze bunt. Tomes then popped out to second base to end the frame.

Army got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth as the Black Knights manufactured a two-out rally and extended their lead to 4-2.

After allowing a leadoff single to begin the sixth inning, Rowley (5-0) struck out the side and turned the game over to McKague in the seventh. The hard-throwing closer proceeded to strike out the side in the seventh to preserve the victory.

Brent Suter (0-4) took the loss for Harvard after yielding four runs on five hits and three walks. The lefty struck out five batters in 5.2 innings of work.

In the nightcap, Harvard claimed a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Jeff Reynolds drew a leadoff walk, and he moved all the way to third base on Jack Colton's one-out single. McGuiggan followed with a sacrifice fly to score Reynolds from third. Ferreira then smacked a two-run homer over the fence in left center to make it 3-0.

The Crimson tacked on an unearned run in the top of the seventh to increase its lead to 4-0. The lead seemed secure with Harvard starter Joey Novak limiting Army to just three hits over six scoreless innings.

Harvard called upon its bullpen to begin the bottom of the seventh, however, and the Black Knights rallied for five runs against three Crimson relievers.

The first eight Army batters of the inning reached base and the Black Knights scored five times on three hits, four walks and a hit batsman to take a 5-4 advantage. The final two runs came across on bases loaded walks.

Army and Harvard will close out their four-game series on Saturday, March 24, with a doubleheader scheduled for 11 a.m.