As the shadows of Harvard's gracious Kindlestick Park grandstand moved swiftly across the infield grass, the Crimson baseball team ended seven innings of lethargy with a three-run explosion in the eighth to gain a 5-2 victory over Tufts yesterday. The lengthy game lasted three hours and seven minutes, making chilled sportswriters late for important dinner appointments.
Miles Nogelo, Tufts' starting (and losing) pitcher, was the chief cause of the delay. Working carefully and deliberately, the lanky left-hander postponed the inevitable several times, choking off potential Harvard rallies with cool pitching under pressure.
But the Crimson's Paul Del Rossi, who went nine innings to collect his third win of the year without a defeat, shared the blame. Studying his batters no less carefully than Nogelo, the Harvard ace had more difficulty than usual against what were supposed to be powerless opponents. Del Rossi yielded eight hits, twice the total he permitted in his first two contests this year.
Some of the hits, such as a ball which shot up 60 ft. above home plate and landed undisturbed between four fielders, were freaks. But others were disturbingly hard hit, indicating that the lefty's curve was not doing all it was supposed to.
Nonetheless, Del did have enough mystery in his deliveries to produce eight strike-outs and keep the ball within the infield most of the time. His change-up curves were particularly tantalizing, but Tufts' batters found that their leisurely speed concealed a wicked spin.
The decisive Harvard half of the eighth commenced with one of Nogelo's seven walks. Then Dick Diehl valiantly attempted to move Lee Sargent, the walker, to second with a sacrifice bunt, but it would have taken a Maury Wills on first to have convinced Tufts the play had to go to first.
While Bobby St. George singled Diehl on to second, a poorly placed Del Rossi bunt erased the speedy catcher at third, leaving men on first and second.
At this point left-fielder Curly Combs, whose batting average had dropped to below .100, quietly settled into the batter's box. A minute later he was flying around the bases on a well-hit triple to deep left field. St. George and Del Rossi touched home on the play, and Harvard assumed a 4-2 advantage. A wild pitch brought Combs in with the fifth and final run.
Previously, the two teams traded unearned runs in the first inning, and Tufts took the lead and their only earned run off Del Rossi in the third on Steve Karn's double.