The Harvard baseball team combined four innings of scoreless relief by Barry Malinowski and a two run rally on no hits in the top of the tenth to defeat MIT yesterday, 5-3. Today the Crimson will host Dartmouth in an important Eastern League doubleheader that starts at 1 p.m. at Soldiers Field.
Harvard was a little flat in anticipation of today's games, and they had to face one of the best pitchers in the East. Al Dropfel, on a cold and windy afternoon. The Crimson managed only seven hits in ten innings, and catcher Tim Bilodeau was the only player to get two.
"Dropfel has a really good curve which he used about 75 per cent of the time, and he wasn't afraid to throw it when he was behind on the count," Bilodeau said. "And he was just wild enough so that you couldn't get a chance to dig in."
Starting pitcher Sandy Weissant started off a Crimson rally in the third by singling and advancing to second on a passed ball. An infield single and a stolen base by Kevin Hampe put runners on second and third with two out, and they both came home when the third baseman overthrew first on a grounder by Toby Harvey.
Weissant was having trouble keeping loose in the cold weather, and he was touched for two runs in the bottom of the third on two weak singles and a throwing error. MIT got their third run in the fifth when Jack Rieber singled, stole second, and came home on another single.
The Crimson drew even in the seventh, and once again aggressive baserunning was the key factor. With one out, Bilodeau singled and continued to second when the leftfielder bobbled the ball. A wild pitch and a walk to pinch hitter Jim Stoeckel batting for Weissant put men on first and third for lead-off batter Vince McGugan.
McGugan hit a potential double play ball that could have ended the inning to the shortstop, but Stoeckel used some of his football finesse to break up the pivot, and Bilodeau scored the tying run.
Malinowski took over for Weissant in the seventh, and picked up his second win of the season, but he had to pitch out of trouble in both the eighth and the ninth to keep the Crimson in the game.
Harvard's two runs in the tenth came without the benefit of a hit. Hampe walked, and Harvey reached base on a sacrifice when Dropfel tried to get the force at second. A successful sacrifice by Larry Barbiaux put runners on second and third with one out.
A grounder to third by captain Mike Thomas caught the lead runner in a run down, and Dropfel appeared to be out of trouble. But he gave up the winning run with a balk, and Thomas came around on an infield error.
In the bottom of the tenth, MIT put men on first and second with no outs. Malinowski threw to third to get the lead runner on an attempted sacrifice, and then got himself out of the hole with a strikeout. A fly ball to center ended the game.
The victory brought Harvard's record to 15-1, and today they face a Dartmouth team that is much stronger than its 9-9 record would indicate. The Indians are 2-1 in Eastern league competition, with an 8-4 win over Princeton and a split with Columbia.
Last year Harvard split a double header by beating Texas Ranger Pete Brobert, 1-0, and the year before it had to face Detroit Tiger Chuck Seeback, but Dartmouth has not run out of strong pitchers.