PRINCETON, N.J. – The Harvard baseball team (18-17, 8-6 Ivy) has propelled itself into contention for one of the top two spots in the Ivy League after sweeping Princeton (10-19, 7-7 Ivy) on day one, jumping to third overall in the league and one win behind second place Columbia.
Ben Skinner and Matt Rothenberg both put up stellar performances at the plate today, Skinner batting .600 and Rothenberg registering a .500 average. Harvard as a team batted .329 and had a fielding percentage of .986 on the day. Skinner extended his Ivy League-leading stolen base count, adding three today for a season total of 14.
On the hill, the Crimson's pitching staff combined for 18 strikeouts, led by Buddy Hayward who in his fifth career start posted a 1.50 ERA and allowed just one run through six innings. Kieran Shaw followed Hayward's performance to notch his fourth save of the season and held Princeton batters to a .111 average through three innings.
Game One: Harvard 5, Princeton 1 (9 Innings)
Harvard's balanced and insistent attack led the Crimson to a 5-1 victory. Ben Skinner led the offensive effort with two hits and two stolen bases while Patrick McColl and Patrick Robinson also stole bases from the Tigers. Five different players contributed an RBI and Jake Suddleson tallied one of only two extra base hits in the game.
From the pitching mound, Buddy Hayward made his fifth career start and improved his record to 2-2 on his freshman campaign. Through six innings, Hayward tossed seven batters and allowed just one run. Kieran Shaw made his team leading fourth save of the season, closing out the final three innings with four strikeouts.
Princeton struck back in the seventh, on a Max West single up the middle.
Game Two: Harvard 13, Princeton 6 (9 Innings)
The Crimson continued to command the field, earning a convincing 13-4 win in game two. Princeton struggled to maintain control, allowing Harvard's first eight runs to go unearned when scored. At the plate, Ben Skinner went four-for-five and added his third stolen base of the afternoon. Patrick Robinson added three RBI, including two on a near home run to right field in the top of the seventh.
After just two days rest, Crimson ace Noah Zavolas took the mound in game two, hurling four strikeouts over three innings on the back end of the twin bill. Grant Stone took the next four frames allowing just one walk and two runs through 16 batters.
Princeton crossed the plate first in game two when Joseph Flynn singled to right center, allowing Asher Lee-Tyson to score.
Harvard took the run right back in the second on a fielding error from Princeton off a Matt Rothenberg hit.
The Crimson put the pressure on in the fifth, scoring five runs to make the score 8-1. The damage began on consecutive throwing errors that allowed Jake Suddleson and Austin Black to plate two unearned scores. Matt Rothenberg then drove a double to right field to send in Hunter Bigge. Harvard took two more before the end of the inning off the bats of Jake Allen and Patrick McColl.
The Tigers chipped away at the deficit on the bottom of the fifth with two runs courtesy of Jesper Horsted and Conor Nolan.
After an efficient sixth inning for both teams, Harvard took a seven-run lead when Patrick Robinson came a few inches short of a home run, hitting a double to the right field fence to drive in Jake Allen and Ben Skinner.
The Tigers cut the lead to six in the eighth off a wild pitch.
Princeton took its last shots in the ninth on a single to center field from Jesper Horsted and a sacrifice fly to center from Joseph Flynn.
Harvard will return to Clarke Field tomorrow, April 25, for a single game scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.