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The Harvard baseball team combined the long relief of Sandy Weissant and the hitting of Hal Smith to beat Tufts yesterday, 8-4. It was the first of eight games scheduled in the next eight days.
The Crimson has two canceled contests to make up this week, and the team will fly down to Princeton today and will then return tonight to play at Boston College tomorrow.
The Jumbos scored all of their runs in the first inning, and Weissant came in with the bases loaded to end the uprising with a strikeout. Weissant picked up where he left off in Saturday's 5-0 win over Penn, and Tufts didn't get a runner past second the rest of the way. In 8-1 3 innings, he allowed only two hits while striking out five.
The win was Harvard's third stright in the Greater Boston League, and it brought Weissant's record to 5-0.
In preparation for the upcoming week, which will include four EIBL games, coach Loyal Park shifted around his line-up, and he got impressive results from the middle of the order.
Batting at number five, Smith had a perfect day with three hits, a walk and a sacrifice. Larry Barbiaux moved up to the third spot, and he scored three runs. The new clean-up hitter, shortstop Jim Stoekel, knocked in two runs with a single and a sacrifice fly.
The Crimson got off to an initial lead in the first when Vince McGugan tripled and Barbiaux reached base on a walk. McGugan scored on an infield out, and Smith drove in Barbiaux with a single.
Harvard tied the score in the sixth when Smith and Toby Harvey drew walks, advanced on an infield out and came home on an error by the second baseman.
The Crimson put the game away with its next turn at bat. A walk, a single, and an outfield error put Kevin Hampe and Barbiaux on second and third. Stoekel brought in the winning run with a long sacrifice fly, and Smith followed with a run-producing single.
Barbiaux and Stoekel scored the final two runs in the ninth.
Today Harvard plays the second half of the doubleheader with Princeton that was rained out on April 16. Lefthander Roz Brayton will put his 6-0 record and 0.00 ERA on the line against the Tigers, while Randy Bleven will be given a chance to break even with the Crimson.
Earlier this season Bleven was locked in a scoreless pitching duel with Mike O'Malley at the end of regulation play, but the Crimson erupted for four runs in the first extra inning to beat the righthander, 4-0. Bleven is 3-2 on the year with a 3.37 ERA.
The Tigers have also lost to Dartmouth and Brown, but they moved into a tie for fourth place in the Eastern League with doubleheader sweeps over Columbia and Yale.
Harvard's record in the EIBL is 5-2, and the league championship--and the opportunity to compete for the Division I title that goes with it--will probably be decided in the doubleheader against Cornell on Saturday.
The Big Red won three straight league games last weekend, and moved into a tie for first place with the Crimson. Dartmouth is right behind the two leaders with a mark of 5-2-1.
Going into yesterday's game, the Harvard pitching staff had a combined ERA of 1.38. and Park is confident that it will respond to the challenge of this upcoming week. "This is a seven-man pitching staff, and Tom O'Neill. Barry Malinowski and Keith Schappert are all waiting for a chance to help us out." Park said.
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