Crimson Upset Slumping Eagles
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The stage was set in the bottom of the ninth inning for a dramatic comeback, but the Eagles could not put the finishing touches on a late-game rally. The baseball team loaded the bases with one out against the Harvard Crimson (6-22), but two relief pitchers struck out the next two batters to ice a 5-2 victory over Boston College (13-20, 4-11 ACC) in the first round of the Beanpot on Tuesday afternoon at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass.
Down by three runs going into the bottom half of the final frame, the Eagles’ lineup took one last shot. First, Matt Pare drew a walk off of Harvard relief pitcher Matt Doyle. Next up, Andrew Lawrence smacked a single up the middle, and pinch hitter Marc Perdios, who came in to replace John Hennessy at the plate, followed suit with a hit that found its way through the left side. It was an unorthodox move to bring up Perdios, who hits righty, against a right-handed pitcher, but head coach Mike Gambino was confident in bringing in Perdios.
“He’s done a really good job coming off the bench,” Gambino said. “He’s been good in the pinch-hitting role.” With the bases loaded and one out, things looked hopeful.
Harvard head coach Joe Walsh decided to go to the bullpen, bringing out Andrew Ferreira, a left-hander, to face left-handed batter Tommy Bourdon. The center fielder had been the main source of trouble for the Crimson all game long, with three hits and an RBI. Now, the hitter who leads the team with six home runs represented the go-ahead run. Bourdon worked the count to 2-2, but Ferreira finally managed to strike him out swinging.
“The kid moved around his pitches,” Gambino said. “He performed well.”
With two outs, Blake Butera stepped up to the plate. The freshman had provided the walk-off hit in more than one situation this year, bringing in the winning run in a 4-3 win over Georgia Tech on Mar. 24. The Crimson brought in another reliever, right-hander Zack Olson, to deal with the right-handed second baseman. With the bases loaded and the winning run for the Eagles again at the plate, Olson fired down three sidearm pitches with some “funk,” as Gambino described it, and got the punch-out to shut down the Eagles’ last stand.
Olson’s performance in the ninth capped a strong outing for the Harvard pitching staff, which managed to end Butera’s and Rob Moir’s hitting streaks at 13 and 11 games, respectively. Starting hurler Matt Timoney threw 7.1 innings and allowed both of the Eagles’ runs, one unearned.
Bourdon singled to right field in the bottom of the third, and thanks to a bobbled ball by Harvard’s right fielder Ethan Ferreira, Hennessy was able to score from first base to make the score 3-1.
The Eagles’ second run came in the fifth inning, after Lawrence singled to right field, then stole second base to get into scoring position. Bourdon came up to bat and belted a double to right field, plating his fellow outfielder and bringing BC to within two runs, the closest the team would get. After the fifth, the Harvard bullpen shut down the Eagles’ bats.
The Crimson built its lead by bits and pieces, beginning with a two-run first inning against Eagles’ starter Eric Stone. Nate Bayuk came on to replace Stone, who was hit with his first loss of the season, and pitched a scoreless second inning. John Gorman, who filled in for Bayuk in the third, gave up a run off of a sacrifice fly by Harvard catcher Jon Smart to increase the lead to 3-1. Two more insurances runs, one in the sixth and one in the ninth, gave Crimson its 5-2 lead going into the ninth inning.
“Not to take anything away from [Harvard], but to be honest, they didn’t do anything special,” Gambino said. “As a ball club, they threw strikes and made plays.”
The Crimson advances to the finals of the Beanpot, where they will face UMass, who defeated Northeastern 4-1.