Crimson Nine Falls in NCAA Regional
Harvard Reaches Championship Round But Tumbles to St. John's in Tenth
A three-run homer in the top of the ninth by St. John's Brian Miller gave the Redmen a 6-3 victory that ended the Harvard baseball season Saturday in the championship round of the NCAA northeast regional in Orono, Maine.
The Redmen now advance to the College World Series beginning next Friday in Omaha, Neb.; the Crimson, which won two of the four games it played in the three-day regional, needed to defeat St. John's twice on Sunday to win the regional, because it had lost to St. John's Saturday.
Coach Alex Nahigian's charges finish the season at 24-12 and nary a tear will fall in the Soldiers Field dugout. The Crimson swept a three-game playoff from Cornell and Yale last weekend to win the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League and make the playoffs.
Too Good to be True
"We played unbelievably well," senior captain Charlie Santos-Buch, who missed the end of the season with a broken wrist, said yesterday. "I'm not disappointed at all--no one is."
Nor should they be. The Crimson opened the weekend playoffs with a 7-3 victory over highly regarded East Carolina. Senior Rob Alevizos picked up another win, his seventh, against no losses, completing his outstanding year.
Alter a 9-5 loss to St. John's Saturday, the Crimson survived a late Maine rally Sunday morning to eliminate the Black Bears, 7-5. Senior Ron Stewart went all the way, despite yielding 14 hits. The Missourian finished his last season at Harvard at 3-3.
In the championship game, Harvard broke out early, with Brad Bauer, who hit a homer against Maine earlier in the day, and Mark Bingham, who finally emerged from his slump Sunday, delivering RBI singles in the first. Harvard's all-time RBI leader, Bingham finished with a 5-9 outburst in Sunday's two games.
Way Off Base
Freshman Bill Doyle kept the Redmen off the bases through most of the game, allowing only one run through six innings. With the help of a solo blast from freshman Ed Farrell, Doyle moved to the seventh up 3-2.
But St. John's built a run in the seventh and tied it with two outs in the ninth on consecutive singles by Sebby Borriello, Bob Kovalsky and Doug Latrenta, the tournament's most valuable player.
The teams advanced to extra innings with the score tied, but Miller's three-run blast in the tenth proved too much for Harvard, which went down quietly in the bottom half of the inning.
Despite the loss in the championship round, bright spots abounded for the Crimson. Paul "Chico" Chicarello, the fiery shortstop who made his varsity debut in last weekend's playoff, continued to rattle opponents and scatter base hits. "The kid is very intense," Santos-Buch said, adding, "He was an inspiration to us all." And freshman Farrell continued the hot-hitting he started last week, with three hits in two of the games.
THE NOTEBOOK: The all-tourney team included Bingham at first base, Farrell in right field and Chicarello as the designated hitter. St. John's (away) 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 3--6 Harvard (home) 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0--3 F--Bauer. DP--St. John's, 2; Harvard, 1. LOB--St. John's 12; Harvard 10. 2B--Bingham. HR--Miller, Farrell. SB--Latrenta. S--Pearce 3, Bingham, Skaff.
St. John's (away) 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 3--6 Harvard (home) 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0--3 F--Bauer. DP--St. John's, 2; Harvard, 1. LOB--St. John's 12; Harvard 10. 2B--Bingham. HR--Miller, Farrell. SB--Latrenta. S--Pearce 3, Bingham, Skaff.