Jumbos Cut Batsmen Down to Size, 5-4

Three Unearned Runs Tell Tragic Tale

You have to wonder if yesterday's ninth-inning 5-4 loss to Tufts by the batsmen was some sort of comic tragedy. It wasn't. It was more like Theatre of the Absurd.

Act One featured an almost believable attempt at giant-killing by the Jumbos, who came into the contest with a 6-3 record. Don Leach tapped a Ron Stewart curveball just over the left-center field fence in the top of the first to give Tufts a quick 2-0 lead.

And when Stewart, who probably suffered through the worst outing of his Harvard career, finally departed in the sixth, it was still only a two-run margin for the Jumbos, 3-1, as the Crimson bats once again went AWOL for the first two-thirds of the game. Harvard had managed its lone run in the bottom of the first on a Mark Bingham RBI single.

Act Two

But back to the drama. Act Two. Enter the tragic hero, long relief man Paul McOsker, who came on for Stewart in the sixth with men on first and second and Tufts' third run already home unearned when Pearce fielded a bunt by Paul Bard and fired it by Bingham.

So the lefty fanned Dave Arsenault on a nice curveball and proceeded to work the next three innings in the same easy fashion, waiting for some sort of reverse of fate for the Crimson offense.

Act Three

And the bats came banging in the bottom of the eighth. Pearce led off with a hustling double down the right field line, then hung around the keystone for the next two outs before Mark Bingham crushed a two-run homer into the dirt pile over the fence in right to tie the game at three-all.

Designated hitter Jim Peccerillo and Paul Halas then took matters into their own hands, slapping back-to-back doubles down the left field line, with Halas's as the clutch RBI job that made it 4-3.

And then the final act. The denouement. The tragic flaw that worked its will to overshadow a strong pressure relief job by McOsker.

With two outs and two on in the ninth, a routine grounder to St. John was fielded cleanly and then not so routinely thrown by Halas to score the tying run. Bard virtually ended things as he followed with a double to left, only the second hit allowed by McOsker in four innings.

The Crimson offense fell silent in the ninth and, walking away in the rain, you had to shake your head and say to yourself, "Zounds. What doth happened?"

THE NOTEBOOK: Junior righthander Timmy Clifford gets his first Northern start and hopefully the squad's first GBL win against Northeastern today at Soldiers Field.