Harvard Tops Brandeis, 6-4; Smerczsnski Stars In Relief
WALTHAM--The plate was bouncing all over Brandeis' Gordon Field here yesterday, but luckily Harvard has a fast infield.
"It's so relaxing to know that if they hit a good shot, my infielders will field it cleanly," said Crimson reliever Mike Smerczynski, who came on in the fourth inning and hurled six scoreless frames to pick up a 6-4 victory. "You can challenge the hitters, because if they hit it on the ground it's automatic," he added.
Smerczynski and starter Jim Curtin combined to limit the Judges to just three hits, but walked eight batters and hit two more. What kept Harvard in the ballgame--which was tied, 4-4, until Donnie Allard poked a long home run in the sixth--were three Brad Bauer-to-Gaylord Lyman-to-Chuck Marshall double plays which took the sting out of the bases on balls.
"It doesn't really bother me to have a runner on first, especially with one out," second baseman Lyman said, "because I want them to hit it to me so I can turn two." Bauer added. "Every time they got a runner on first we were kind of expecting a ground ball."
Three times in three innings they got one. When Brandeis loaded the bases without a hit in the second, Curtin got Dwayne Follette to ground to Bauer, who started the twin killing with a flip to Lyman. When the southpaw walked Ray DiCarlo with nobody out in the third. Bauer was there again to scoop up a bouncer and shovel to second.
And when the Judges knocked Curtin out of the box in the fourth with a pair of walks, and reached Smerczynski for a walk, single and two botched pickoff plays to tie the score and load the bases. Bauer converted a Brian Isaac grounder into two big outs, with the help of a nifty stretch by Marshall at the receiving end.
"Up until this game," Bauer said. "I really don't think we've had that many opportunities to show what we could do with double plays. I think you'll see a lot more the rest of the way."
Bauer knocked in the first Harvard run just three batters into the game--ripping a double that scored Bruce Walker from first--and scored the second run on a Vinnie Martelli grounder moments later.
In the third, Bauer doubled again sending Weller to third, and Martelli gave the Crimson a 4-2 lead by doubling the centerfielder home.
But the Judges kept plugging, and after his mates tallied twice on one hit in the bottom of the frame, pitcher Mike Fiala turned stingy, blanking the Crimson until Allard's homer in the sixth. An inning later, Martelli knocked home his third run of the day with a base hit to complete the scoring.
Smerczynski, who struck out four on "just about all fastballs," worked himself into trouble with two walks in the seventh, but catcher Joe Wark picked Isaac off first, and Smuzz fanned DiCarlo to retire the side.
Wark had one of his better days at the plate, singling home Lyman in the second inning and ripping a ground-rule double past third base in the fourth. As usual, his defensive game was superb. You can only say it so many times, but there is no finer defensive catcher on Harvard's schedule. THE NOTEBOOK: This afternoon, the squad will travel to UMass for a 3 p.m. game there. Tomorrow, it's B.C. at home, and Saturday a doubleheader at Dartmouth. Sunday will be a day of fun and relaxation, with an alumni game scheduled for Soldiers Field. Charlie Santos-Buch. Kevin Hampe, Jim Stoeckel and the immortal Billy Cleary are expected... This is the last year, by the way, of all this mid-week competition. Starting next season, the Ivy League will allow no more than one playing date between Monday and Thursday of any week. EIBL competition will now be doubleheaders on both Saturday and Sunday, so the Greater Boston League may have to take a back seat. Of course, the non-league contests like UMass and URI will be the first to leave the schedule. E--Smerczynski, Bauer, Skaff, Carpenter, Reid DP--Harvard, 3 28--Bauer 2, Wark, Marteill, Silber HR--Allard
E--Smerczynski, Bauer, Skaff, Carpenter, Reid
28--Bauer 2, Wark, Marteill, Silber