Harvard baseball had its eight-game winning streak snapped yesterday, though luckily not by an Eastern League opponent, as the Crimson dropped a tough 3-2 decision to Brandeis in 11 innings at Soldiers Field.
Brandeis, which has handed Harvard two of its seven losses this year, raised its Greater Boston League slate to 6-0-1 when freshman Mark Lunardo walked to lead off the top of the 11th and came around to score the winning run on classmate Peter Seraichick's pinch basehit to right field.
The batsmen looked unwilling to die in their half of the 11th, as with Mike Stenhouse on second and Mark Bingham on first with two outs, Jim Peccerillo ripped a shot back to the box that handcuffed Brandeis pitcher John Griffin only momentarily before he threw out the Harvard left fielder.
Griffin locked horns with fellow left-hander Paul McOsker in a pitcher's duel that eventually turned out to be a test of endurance. McOsker finally succumbed in the tenth with the game still tied after giving up only eight hits, and gave way to Ron Stewart, who was tagged with his second loss of the year, while Griffin went all the way.
Harvard drew first blood in the sixth when Charlie Santos-Buch and Bobby Kelley sliced back-to-back singles before Stenhouse's long fly to center brought Santos-Buch in.
The Judges waited until the eighth to tense things up, as a walk, two singles, and an error by Harvard second baseman Paul Halas gave Brandeis a 2-1 lead.
In the Harvard ninth Brandeis second baseman Brian Isaac returned the favor when he allowed lead-off batter Kelley to reach on his error. Stenhouse then moved pinch-hitter Bobby Jenkins to third as he followed with a single, and then Peccerillo pushed the tying run across with his sacrifice fly to left.
The Crimson finished its Greater Boston League season with a 4-4 record, but nobody is shedding any tears. The important thing is that Harvard is 9-2 in the Eastern League, and its three games this weekend with Army (Friday) and Cornell (a Saturday doubleheader) are all that stands between the team and the District One NCAA baseball playoffs. The batsmen must take at least two of the three and must beat the Cadets on Friday to take the Eastern League championship, as both opponents have only three league losses each.
Coach Loyal Park will throw his ace Larry (9-0) Brown on Friday, and double up with Timmy Clifford (4-2) and Steve Baloff (5-1) against the Big Red in the season finale.
The Red Sox opened their 15-game road trip last night with a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles.
Eddie Murray cracked a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Sox reliever Tom Burgmeier to give the Birds the win.