The Harvard baseball team clinched the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League championship for the first time since 1974 on Saturday with a doubleheader split against defending champion Cornell.
The Crimson, who had defeated Army on Friday, 14-5, needed to win only one of its last two games against the Big Red to finish 11-3 in the Eastern League and thus earn a berth in the NCAA District One playoffs, which begin in two weeks.
The batsmen took the first game of the twinbill, 6-0, on the strength of All-American candidate Larry Brown's three-hit shutout. The junior ace walked one and struck out three en route to his tenth victory of the season against no losses.
Of Harvard's six runs, three were earned, thanks to four Cornell errors. Mark Bingham drove Mike Stenhouse and Charlie Santos-Buch in with single runs in the first and third innings, while four hits and two errors in the fifth gave the Crimson its remaining four runs.
In the second game some premature celebration by Harvard allowed the Big Red to score eight runs in the first inning and gain a split in the doubleheader and second place in the Eastern League by virtue ot its 8-6 triumph.
The Crimson shut Cornell out the rest of the way but could not overcome the first-inning deficit. Santos-Buch was the hitting star, going two for four with three RBIs, while Stenhouse, Jim Peccerillo and Burke St. John each chipped in with two hits in the losing cause.
Regardless of the nightcap, Harvard finished its regular season with a 24-8 record and because of its league championship, the Crimson will receive a bye from ECAC playoff competition. The District One playoffs will probably begin on May 28 for Harvard, when it will face Eastern powerhouse Temple University at Holyoke.
Statistically, the playoffs will give Stenhouse a chance to break a couple of Harvard records. The sophomore slugger needs one more homer and six more RBIs to break the respective season and career marks held by Pete Varney '71.