The Harvard baseball team took over first place in the EIBL on Saturday by splitting a doubleheader with Penn while Brown dropped a pair to Cornell. The Quakers scored two runs in the top of the seventh to win the first game, 3-2, but the Crimson came back with the three-hit pitching of Sandy Weissant to win the second, 5-0.
The seven sophomores in the starting line-up reflected Penn's recent drive for hegemony in Ivy League sports, and every time coach Bob Seddon went to his bullpen he defied Pascal's laws of probability as no less than five different left-handed pitchers paraded before Crimson batters during the afternoon.
Coach Loyal Park's strategy for this season calls for an early lead to give the pitcher room to manuveur, and Harvard scored twice in the first inning. After starter Mike O'Malley had pitched himself out of a bases-loaded situation. Vince McGugan led off with a double and promptly stole third. A single by Kevin Hampe brought in one run, and after Tim Bilodeau walked, a single by Hal Smith brought across another.
But after that it was all Penn. The Quakers left 13 men on base, and almost blew the game wide open in the fourth, when they had the bases loaded with no out and the top of the order coming up. Norm Walsh came in to relieve O'Malley, and he allowed only one run as the next three batters couldn't get the ball out of the infield.
With the exception of McGugan and Larry Barbiaux, who had five hits between them. Harvard's attack was non-existent the rest of the way, but until the seventh it looked as if the initial two-run burst was all the Crimson needed.
Walsh was in complete command in the fifth and sixth innings, but in the seventh he was victimized by bad fielding, and it cost Harvard the game. A single, an infield error, and an uncovered base on a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases with no outs. A sacrifice fly tied the game, and after a single filled the bases again. Walsh walked in the winning run.
"When we get an early lead we tend to depend too much on our pitching and defense." Bilodeau said after the doubleheader. "Errors are bound to come sooner or later, but they wouldn't hurt as much if we could keep up pressure on the opposing pitcher."
Penn's quarterback Gary Shue was on the mound in the second game, and Harvard blitzed him in the first inning for two runs without a hit. McGugan and Hampe both drew walks, and they moved to second and third on a wild pitch and two stolen bases. Toby Harvey and Bilodeau each drove in a run with grounders to the second baseman.
McGugan reached base twice more without the benefit of a hit, and Harvey drove him in both times. In the third McGugan walked, moved to second of a fielder's choice and came home on Harvey's double.
The Crimson was held to only four hits in the entire game, but it only took one in the fifth to produce the final two runs. A walk and an error put Weissant and McGugan on base, and a single by Hampe and a sacrifice fly by Harvey brought them both in.
Weissant walked four and struck out three in picking up his first shut out against an Eastern League opponent, and only two Penn runners got past second base. Weissant's overall record is now 4-0.
"To make his curve really effective: Sandy has to throw his fastball hard and over the plate, and earlier this season he was having trouble getting loose." Bilodeau said, "But on Saturday his fastball was really zipping, and he was teasing the batters with his curve six inches outside."
In other EIBL action, Brown best Army, 3-2, but then lost two one-run games to Cornell, 3-2 and 4-3, to fall a full game behind Harvard. Dartmouth tied Penn on Friday, 8-8, and then split a double header with Navy, winning 5-1, and then split a doubleheader with Navy, winning, 5-1, and then losing, 3-2.