Even before he made his '78 northern debut in yesterday afternoon's Greater Boston League tilt against the Northeastern Huskies, Harvard's junior hurler Tim Clifford knew how to keep things in check. Clifford works as a security guard at the Radcliffe Quad, so it was really no surprise that when he took the mound, the Huskies acted as if their bats had been locked in the dugout.
Handcuffing the visitors from Huntington Ave. on just six hits--five of them singles and none of them coming after the fifth inning--Clifford pitched the Crimson to its 13th, his second triumph, a 4-0 victory. His biggest scare came in that fifth frame, when Northeastern had runners on first and third with two outs, but alas, it proved to be nothing more than a false alarm. The next batter, you see, flied to right.
While Clifford was treating the Huskies with the respect one might accord the Seattle Mariners, Harvard, oddly enough, was registering single tallies in innings one, three, five and seven. In each of the initial three instances, it was the alertness of sophomore centerfielder Charlie Santos-Buch and tainted Northeastern fielding that produced an unearned run.
In the first frame, Santos-Buch beat out a bunt to the left of the mound, took second on a passed ball, moved to third on an infield hit by Mike Stenhouse and scored when Mark Bingham lofted a sacrifice fly to left.
In the third, an error by the Huskies' third baseman, a stolen base and a fielder's choice put Santos-Buch on third with two outs. A clutch Paul Halas single then plated him with the Crimson's second run.
Northeastern hurler Paul Nickerson, who had ten strikeouts, allowed just seven hits and was practically flawless himself when anyone but Santos-Buch was at bat, was victimized by the Crimson centerfielder for the third time in the fifth inning. Actually, he was victimized by his own streak of wildness, for after Santos-Buch had doubled over the centerfielder's head, Nickerson's errant pickoff attempt and wild pitch allowed the third tally to cross the plate.
With the exception of a Stenhouse home run in the seventh that carried over the fence in right-center, that was it. And just to prove that no one is perfect, Nickerson fanned Santos-Buch his last time at bat in the seventh.
By that time, though, Clifford was in such control of the game that the few people who had made the trek to Soldiers Field on an afternoon any reputable sports announcer would have termed "just a beautiful day for baseball" were tuning in the final innings of the Red Sox-Milwaukee contest on their handy-dandy transistors and tuning out the action in front of them.
That's what happens when one of the starting pitchers is a security guard who likes to lock things up early and then coast home. Baseball purists would have found it a thing of beauty, but the Huskies found it downright alarming.