Spring? Yesterday's weather was better suited for dog sled racing than baseball. Harvard and Northeastern decided to go on with the show anyway, despite the rain, sleet, icy winds and near freezing temperatures at Soldiers Field, and get in a cold GBL contest.
The Huskies probably wish they'd stayed at home, though, as the Crimson mushed its way to 6-2 GBL victory thanks to a five run uprising in the eighth. Northeastern cruised into that inning with a 2-1 lead, but suddenly got cold feet (and cold gloves). Two hits, two errors and a hit batsman later, the Huskies had lost their 13th in a row to Harvard.
The Crimson managed only four hits the entire afternoon and only two off Northeastern starter Ed Minishak. One of those was a booming shot from the bat of Leigh Hogan in the sixth that sliced through the gale winds and carried over the right field fence out onto the tundra somewhere for Harvard's first run.
The Huskies struck for their only two runs off Don Driscoll in the third. Mike Archambault doubled to knock in one, and later crossed the plate himself as big (6 ft. 3 in., 235 pounds) Mel "Nanook of the North" Seibolt drove him in with a single from the designated hitter spot. Seibolt's shot was the fourth for Northeastern, but Driscoll settled in and allowed only two more the rest of the way.
It was the second win in a row for the junior right hander, as he three-hit MIT a week before for Harvard's third GBL victory. The Crimson's record is now 4-0 against Beantown rivals and 15-4 overall.
But for a while it looked as though Seibolt's RBI single might be the deciding one in the game-that is, until the eighth. Mark Krentzman, who relieved the hot starting Minishak (he struck out the first three batters) in the seventh, also began to get cold and the Husky infield froze up altogether.
The winning run crossed the plate on a one-out suicide squeeze play that worked better than expected. Ric LaCivita strode to the plate with the bases loaded and laid down a well-placed bunt. Fran Cronin, who was sent in to run for Joe Mackey, got a good break from third and was crossing home with the tying run by the time Krentzman got to the ball.
Krentzman's only play was to first, but first baseman Rick DeCristoforo managed to drop the throw and LaCivita was safe. Meanwhile, Dave St. Pierre kept going from second and rounded the corner with Harvard's third run, preventing (to the relief of those who had to stay the entire game) the contest from going into extra innings.
An out later, Ed Durso was hit by a pitch and George Greenwich was called from the Husky bullpen to get the final out. He got Jim Thomas to pop up in the infield and it looked as though the inning was finally over. But third baseman Mark McHugh dropped the ball in front of the plate and two more runs scored.
To add insult to injury, Thomas took advantage of his free pass to the bases and stole second. But while the throw was going to second, Ed Durso was running for home and the delayed steal added a sixth run to the Harvard score.