It wasn't always pretty for the Princeton baseball offense Wednesday, but a five-run outburst in its final inning was enough to earn a split with Harvard in a rescheduled doubleheader at Clarke Field. Harvard won the opener, which began on a rainy final day of March, during extra innings of a cold, sunny day in mid-April 4-3, but Princeton rallied for a 6-2 win in the nightcap.
As if 17 days wasn’t long enough to wait for the completion of the Harvard-Princeton opening game, Alec Keller made sure fans needed an extra two innings to determine the result. Unfortunately, an errant throw in the top of the ninth led the Crimson to a 4-3 victory in nine innings.
Harvard led 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Danny Hoy was hit by a pitch to start the tying rally. The Crimson brought in T.J. Laurisch for the save attempt, but it lasted only a few pitches. Keller greeted him with a line drive over the rightfield fence to even the score at 3-3.
Princeton had an opportunity to win the game in regulation, but Jonathan York grounded out to third base with runners on second and third.
The game would remain 3-3 into the ninth inning, when Hoy’s throwing error allowed Jack Colton to score the winning run.
Keller was 3-for-4 in the game, with all three Princeton RBIs. Senior Michael Fagan started the game and pitched Wednesday’s first three innings off short rest from his Saturday start at Columbia. He struck out eight batters over seven innings. Sophomore Chris Bodurian threw the final two innings and took the loss despite allowing only one hit and striking out two.
After seven quiet innings at the plate, Princeton made the most of the bottom of the eighth inning to salvage the split against Harvard.
After the Tigers hadn’t recorded a base hit in four innings, they recorded six in the eighth inning alone. Billy Arendt, who had two hits in the inning, led off with a double to the leftfield fence. A wild pitch moved Arendt to third base and pushed the infield in, and Danny Baer took advantage by lacing a single through the right side.
A walk and a bloop single to right field loaded the bases and brought in Harvard reliever Matt Timoney. Princeton freshman Zack Belski hit a ground ball to second base to bring in Baer for the go-ahead run. Paul Tupper followed with an RBI single to right field that scored Danny Hoy, and Nick Hernandez added a two-run, two-out single for a trio of insurance runs.
The comeback was possible after a strong pitching performance from the duo of Luke Strieber and Nick Donatiello. Strieber allowed only two unearned runs in the first inning, while Donatiello came in for the final two innings and recorded his first win of the season.
Princeton will look to build on its late offensive explosion this weekend when it hosts division leader Penn in four games at Clarke Field. Penn will bring an 11-1 league record into the weekend, while Princeton stands at 5-7.