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Baseball: Nearly a Miracle

Almost Defeats UMass Behind Eight-Run Comeback

If you don't think history has a horrible way of repeating itself, just ask the Harvard baseball team.

In the Crimson's first game north of the Mason-Dixon line this year, junior Dave Morgan hit a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the seventh to tie Columbia, only to see the Lions score the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the inning.

Wednesday's game against Massachusetts at Soldiers Field also featured a mammoth Harvard comeback--eight runs in the final two innings, but once again the opposition won in the next inning on a Harvard miscue.

With two outs and the score tied 8-8 in the top of the tenth, Massachusetts loaded the bases on a double and two intentional walks. The next batter grounded to junior Bill Madden at third, but Madden's throw to second was high, deflecting off junior Eric Weissman's glove into right field and allowing two runs to score.

Harvard mounted another comeback in the bottom of the tenth, but came up short. Freshman Mark Levy scored on a double and two wild pitches, but senior Juan Zarate and Captain Mike Hill struck out to end the game, the season and their collegiate careers.

Unbelievable Comeback

Down 8-4 going into the bottom of the ninth, two unbelievable breaks fell Harvard's way.

First, Levy grounded to second with one out, but Massachusetts second baseman Joe Mattivello threw it over first base for an error. Zarate reached first on a bunt single, and Hill followed with a single to load the bases.

Morgan knocked Levy home with a sacrifice fly to right, and junior Mike Giardi also singled, scoring Zarate and moving Hill to third.

Massachusetts brought in reliever Jay Murphy to staunch the flood, but Giardi promptly stole second, setting up the second of the two lucky breaks.

Weissman hit an innocent fly ball to right that everyone thought would end the game, but Minuteman Jeff January slipped on the outfield grass. The ball landed next to him, and Hill and Giardi scored easily.

Senior catcher Phil Andriola then singled Weissman to third, but freshman Scott Parrot--who got his first varsity hit earlier in the game--grounded out to new pitcher Greg Dowd, ending the remarkable inning.

Lackluster First Seven

The Crimson (18-20 overall, 12-8 Ivy) played the first seven-and-a-half innings against the Minutemen (18-21) without any emotion, falling behind 8-0 thanks to sloppy fielding (three errors and a blown fielder's choice play), eight walks and a hit-by-pitch.

Minuteman Jeff Toothaker allowed only four hits through seven innings, retiring 12 Crimson batters in a row at one point.

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