Conversation heard last night in Quincy House Dining Hall: Undergrad #1: "Hey, do you know how the baseball team did today?" Undergrad #2: "Yeah, they lost to B.C., 4-0." Undergrad #1: "They lost? Wow, what a drag."
And it was a drag, a royal bummer drag yesterday as pitcher George Ravinas and his undefeated B.C. cohorts handcuffed the Crimson bats and came up with just enough offense themselves to hand Harvard its first baseball loss of the season.
Crimson starter Ron Stewart "pitched good enough to win," according to Coach Loyal Park yesterday, and those who saw his performance at Soldiers Field can little doubt that statement.
Stewart gave up only seven hits (three in the first inning) in going the distance. But more importantly, the sophomore rightly yielded only two earned runs, as untimely botches in the field led to the Eagles' first two runs.
In the top of the fifth, with the game still scoreless as both sides traded mental errors, B.C. leftfielder Gary Anderson banged Stewart's first pitch to right center field for a double. Anderson moved to third after shortstop Kevin McDonald walked and was erased on a pretty 6-4-3 double play.
Then, with an 0-2 count on catcher Tim Dachos, Stewart made his next pitch a little too good. Dachos chopped a bounding ball down to Burke St. John, and the shortstop bobbled it long enough to let everyone be safe.
One of those kinds of runs would be enough, but the very next inning Eagle second baseman Chuck Mitchell rapped a one-out single to left and moved quickly to third when first baseman Jim Conroy yanked the next pitch for a double down the left field line. Stewart then threw a wild pitch to score him and make it 2-0.
The Eagles chalked up two legitimate runs in the top of the ninth with a two-out rally which saw McDonald and Greg Stewart score on a long single to left by Dachos.
Meanwhile, in the Harvard batter's box, a super mound performance by Ravinas coupled with the Crimson's ever-dwindling hit totals to produce nothing short of ineptitude at the plate.
There were but three hits all game for the batsmen, all of them of the scratch variety. Rick Pearce beat out grounders to McDonald in the fifth and third baseman Doug Juiffre in the ninth, while St. John bisected the two with a seeing-eye job in the seventh.
Other than that there were three balls hit out of the infield. More importantly, there were the 12 batters that Ravinas struck out (five looking) to crown his threehitter.
And most amazingly, there were chances for Harvard runs. Two to be exact, both thwarted by missed signals.
"You just can't afford to give chances away early in a game, especially a game that was going to be as close as this one. You just never know how many you're gonna get," Park said afterwards.
The first missed signal came in the first inning. After Stewart had gotten out of a three-hit, bases loaded jam tally-free, leadoff batter Peter Bannish walked on four pitches from a temporarily demoralized Ravinas. Two pitches later, Bannish was thrown out at second easily when Charlie Santos-Buch missed a sign to sacrifice.
"You got a guy in scoring position with one gone in the first, your best hitter coming up, and their pitcher a little wild--hey, it changes the whole complexion of the ball game," Park said afterward.