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The Harvard baseball team beat Northeastern yesterday, 7-6, to win the BGL championship. The Crimson plays at Springfield today, but its hopes for another trip to the College World Series out at Omaha rest entirely on the outcome of the Sunday's game against Cornell. The play-off for the EIBL championship will take place at Princeton, and if the Crimson wins, it moves on to the NCAA Division I play-offs.
Cornell and Harvard both finished the regular Eastern League schedule with a record of 10-4, to tie for first place for the second year in a row. Last year's play-off was at Soldiers Field, and Bill Kelley fired a three-hitter to beat the Big Red, 1-0. This year junior Roz Brayton has replaced Kelley as the ace of the Crimson staff, and he will be the starting pitcher for Sunday's game.
Brayton had not allowed an earned run in 60 innings until he gave up two in last Friday's loss to Brown. On May 6, Brayton threw a one-hitter to beat Cornell, 14-0. He has a record of 8-1 and a phenomenal E.R.A. of 0.27.
In today's game Northeastern's third baseman Tom Archibald hit a three-run home run in the first inning, and the Huskies were ahead, 4-2, in the eighth when Harvard exploded for four runs.
After Kevin Hampe reached base on a fielder's choice, Tim Bilodeau walked and Joe Mackey delivered a pinch hit single to load the bases. Vince McGugan drove in two runs with a Texas Leaguer to right, and Toby Harvey and Larry Barbiaux drove in a run apiece with singles.
The Huskies came back to tie the score in the top of the ninth, but after Harvard loaded the bases with one out, two different pitchers threw two balls each to McGugan to walk in the winning run. Harvard finished its Greater Boston League season with a record of 5-1 to win the championship for the second year in a row.
The Crimson used four pitchers and Mike O'Malley got the win, bringing his record to 4-1. McGugan had three hits, and Harvey, Barbioux and Bilodeau each added two.
Cornell is 14-4-1 since returning from the Riverside Tournament out in California, and it comes into Sunday's game with a five-game winning streak. After losing three of four league games early in May, Cornell appeared to be out of the EIBL race, but last weekend the Big Red shut out Columbia and then swept two doubleheaders from Princeton and Penn, winning all four games by one run.
Pitching has been Cornell's big strength all season, and the heroes of the stretch drive were John Daugherty and left-hander Alfred Anyzeski. Daugherty tamed the Lions last Friday, 3-0, and then came back with only one day's rest to pitch three scoreless innings against Penn to win in relief, 1-0. Daugherty has allowed less than two earned runs a game, and his record is now 5-2.
Anyzeski beat Princeton last Saturday, 1-0, and he also appeared in relief on Sunday to beat Penn, 3-2. Anyzeski's record of 4-2 includes a four-hitter against Arizona State, and he has struck out 54 batters in 52 2/3 innings.
Cornell coach Ted Thoren has not decided which of his two aces to start in Sunday's game. Neither of them did very well in the doubleheader against Harvard two weekends ago. Daugherty was removed in the second inning of the first game after he had yielded a walk and four hits, including a home run by Jim Stoekel, without getting anyone out. In the second game Anyzeski was the victim of errors and his own lack of control, and he left in the fourth inning after Harvard scored its sixth run.
With the notable exception of the 14-8 win over Harvard, the Big Red has been unable to produce the big inning, but Thoren is confident that his line-up is stronger than it was two weeks ago. Shortstop Chris Stocke was only able to play one inning against Harvard on account of food poisoning, and he leads the team in hitting with a .301 average.
Left fielder Tom Berry, who hit a pinch hit home run against the Crimson, and second baseman Mike Battiste have both returned to the starting line-up recently. Third baseman Tom Boettcher has four home runs this season, and he leads the team in runs batted in with 21.
Cornell has not played since last Sunday's doubleheader at Philadelphia, and Thoren thinks this lay-off will work to Harvard's advantage. "We hit our peak last weekend, and I can only hope that the team can sustain its momentum," he said.
The Crimson will have another chance to brush up for the EIBL showdown when it plays at Springfield today. Over the past four years, Springfield has established itself as one of the best teams in New England, and with a record of 17-3, the Chiefs have already secured a play-off berth in the NCAA's Mid-Atlantic small colleges' division.
Four Springfield pitchers have signed pro contracts in the last two years, and while this year's staff isn't particularly flashy, it has been consistent. The Crimson will face Burt Barker, a left-hander with a 4-0 record and an E.R.A. of 1.94. Last week Barker beat B.C., 3-2, two days after the Eagles had upset the Crimson. Tom O'Neill will start for Harvard.
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