Princeton scored six unearned runs in the second inning and hung on for an 8-5 victory over the Crimson baseball team yesterday. Harvard, opening its Eastern Intercollegiate baseball schedule, lost its first game in ten starts.
This afternoon Harvard will test the depth of its pitching rotation with a doubleheader against Columbia at the Lions' Baker Field. Coach Loyal Park has named lefthander J. C. Nickens as the starter in the first seven-inning game, and righthander John Todd will face the Lions in the second contest.
Against the Tigers, the Crimson had a big day at the plate, collecting 12 hits off Princeton's Jack Hittson. Pete Varney hit his sixth home run of the season, drove in three runs, and went three for four at the plate. Pete Bernhard doubled twice, and Dan DeMichele added a double and a triple.
But the Crimson fell far behind in the second inning after a sure third-out grounder took a bad bounce past second baseman Vince McGugan. The score was, 1-1, before the error, but Princeton followed with a walk, two singles, and a triple to build a comfortable six-run margin.
Tom Dashiell, who yielded seven runs in 12/3 innings, was tagged with the loss. Phill Collins held the Tigers to only one run in his six-inning relief performance.
With one out in the ninth inning. Harvard threatened to tie the game when Varney walked, MeGugan singled, and Bill Kelly lined a sharp drive to centerfield. But centerfielder Paul Colburn made a diving catch of the ball and easily doubled up Varney, who had already reached the plate.
Since the EIBL schedule has been expanded to 14 games, Park felt that every team in the league is likely to lose at least two or three games. A sweep of today's games at Columbia would move the Crimson right back into contention.
Southpaw Nickens, starting in the first game today, pitched well on the Southern tour, winning both of his starting assignments and yielding only two runs and six hits in 12 innings.
Todd pitched less than an inning all last season but earned the third spot in the pitching rotation after hurling seven innings of one hit shutout ball on the Spring tour. Against a ST. Louis farm club, Todd held the pros hitless in a three-inning stint.
The strength of the Columbia team is still unmeasured. Due to bad weather, the Lions could only hold one outdoor practice before their Southern tour. Until a week ago, only one Columbia player, righthander Ron Szumilas, had assured himself of a starting berth, Szumilas led the Lions last season with a 1.89 ERA, four victories in six decisions, and five complete games.
The Liou's hitting attack leaves much to be desired. Shortstop Dennis Graham led the team last season with a 273 average, but the next best returning letterman is third baseman Andy Szakos at only 233.
Although playing away from home is usually considered a handicap. Harvard has a definite advantage when playing at Bakey Field. The field has an extremely short centerfield fence, and Pete Varney hit two drives that sent outfielders all the way to that fence last year.
The Crimson hit 11 home runs in its first ten games, six by Varney.