AMHERST, Ma.--When you're the Harvard baseball team the rules of life are very simple. You do your club-thumping and winning against Eastern League teams, and you work on your fundamentals and search for bright spots against everyone else.
Fundamentals were absent in the seventh and eighth innings for the Crimson here yesterday, as UMass parlayed four unearned runs off three Harvard errors to win 4-1, but the bright outshone the boots.
Left-hander Jim Keyte, the aspirin-chucking sophomore from Los Angeles, turned in a tremendous cold-weather pitching performance for Harvard. Keyte fired a five-hitter and struck out eight in eight innings, but more importantly, may have established himself as the lefty starter that the Harvard pitching staff so needs.
Despite the final result, Keyte's outing was anything but snakebitten. "Jim pitched well down in Florida, but the one game he started we gave up four unearned runs also," coach Alex Nahigian said after the game.
"He was very, very impressive today. Nothing bothered him. That's a big plus for us now," he added.
"Keyter" and his heater, often chastised for wildness, were immense throughout the game. The sophomore threw no-hit ball through the first five innings and issued only three walks on the afternoon.
"I felt stronger at the end of the game. I was using my curve ball when I was behind 2-and-0 and 2-and-1 on the batter, and it worked well. The curve set up my fastball in the other situations," Keyte said.
Of the 154 pitches that Keyte unleased on the day (a total right out of the Larry Flynt House of Torture), 43 came in the Barnum and Bailey bottom of the seventh.
First baseman Mark Bingham had scored on Charlie Santos-Buch's single to right in the top half of the seventh to give the Crimson a 1-0 lead.
Buoyed by the lead, Keyte set down the first two Minuteman hitters in order before yielding consecutive singles to Doug Welenc and Leo Kalinowski to put men at first and third. UMass DH Mark Litano then popped Keyte's next offering to first base. But the wind, which had circled the field all day, turned the can of corn into a can of worms for Harvard, as a Bingham miscue allowed Welenc to score from third.
A walk to Doug Axlward loaded the bases, and second baseman Mike Stockely went to a 3-2 count before sending a line drive into shallow center field. The ball hit off the heel of Santos-Buch's glove and two more runs came in.
An error in the eight brought Ed Skribiski home with the fourth UMass tally, and Harvard loaded the bases in the month only to come-up runless.
So now its eight unearned runs in two games for Keyte, and you'd think the flaky lefty would be wondering about it.
"Well, what do you think?" the reporter asked after the game.
"I think I've got a make-up exam in Nat Sci. 19 at eight tonight," Keyte said.