Starting Pitching Leads Baseball to Saturday Sweep vs. Brown

Gruener threw his sixth-consecutive complete game (Elan Kawesch).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – On an afternoon where Harvard baseball celebrated the 150th anniversary of the program, the Crimson tallied a pair of victories against visiting Brown, 2-1 and 4-3. Harvard improved to 14-20 overall and an even 7-7 in Ivy League play, while Brown fell to 11-21 with a 5-9 mark in Ancient Eight competition.

Game One: W, 2-1

Junior Nick Gruener threw a gem on the mound to lead Harvard to victory in the opening game of the series, 2-1. His sixth-straight complete game, Gruener struck out seven batters against only one walk, scattering five hits and one run over seven frames.

Senior Mitch Klug tallied the lone Harvard RBI in the first game, while sophomore Matt Rothenberg and freshman Trent Bryan scored runs. Five different Crimson batters recorded hits in the pitcher's duel.

Harvard got on the board in the first inning following singles from Rothenberg and junior Josh Ellis. Standing on third, Rothenberg scored after a throwing error by the Brown third baseman to give Harvard a 1-0 lead.

Brown tied the score, 1-1, with an RBI-single in the top of the fifth frame, but the Crimson immediately responded in the bottom of the fifth to score the eventual game-winning run. Bryan doubled down the left field line to start the series, and later scored after a sacrifice fly to right field from Mitch Klug.

Gruener struck out three of the final four batters to close out the victory, Harvard's fourth-straight in Ivy play.

Game Two: W, 4-3

Fanning 10 batters in the second contest of the afternoon, senior Sean Poppen willed Harvard to its second victory of the day, 4-3, over the Bears. Poppen's season-high 10 strikeouts went with six hits and two runs over seven innings, and senior Nick Scahill pitched two innings late for his third save of the season.

Harvard tallied seven hits in the second game, led by two from Klug. Rothenberg extended his reached-base streak to 18 games with a single, while Klug and junior Drew Reid registered RBI.

Brown got out to an early 1-0 lead after scoring on a throw to second to catch a base-stealer. The lead was short-lived, however, as Harvard put up three in the bottom of the first to claim a 3-1 advantage. Freshman Ben Skinner doubled to start the inning, and he was promptly singled home by Klug. The second baseman later scored on a double play, while freshman Patrick McColl crossed the plate after a wild pitch.

A home run pulled the Bears within one in the top of the third, but an RBI-double from Reid doubled the Crimson lead back to 4-2 in the latter half of the fourth. The Harvard pitching held Brown off the board until the top of the ninth, when a homer to left field pulled Brown within one, but Scahill set down the final two hitters to close the game.

Harvard hosts Brown for two more contests on Sunday, April 24 on the Ivy League Digital Network. A pivotal doubleheader, first pitch is set for 1 p.m.