They may not be Koufax and Drysdale, but Harvard hurlers Don Driscoll and Mark Linehan limited a tame Columbia Lion squad to one run and six hits all day Saturday, as the Crimson swept a doubleheader, 2-0 and 4-1.
Driscoll isn't a right-handed Koufax--at least, not yet--but he may not be all that far away if his performance in Saturday's opener is any indication. Driscoll struck out nine, and allowed Columbia hitters to push only three fair balls out of the infield, two of them for hits.
Meanwhile, Columbia hurler Ed Backus hurt his own cause. With two gone in the first inning. Leigh Hogan and Joe Sciolls singled. Center-fielder Leon Goetz walked to load the bases. Backus then followed with another free pass to Barry Cronia, and Hogan trotted across with the first run of the day.
Cronin added an insurance run in the third inning with a home run, but one run was all Driscoll needed.
Driscoll looked awesome, pitching a perfect game for five innings. In the sixth, Columbia right-fielder Bob Cummings doubled off the fence is left-center, becoming the first (and last) Lion to reach scoring position. But Driscoll escaped easily, after a strikeout and two pop-outs to second baseman Jimmy Thomas.
Columbia catcher Ron Pettinger, a Professional prospect, got the other hit off Driscoll with one out in the final inning, as he rapped one of the few fastballs he saw all day into left for a single. But Driscoll remained the master, and Pettinger's teammates left him stranded.
The Lions refused to be caged so easily in the second game, as center-fielder Dave McAvoy hit Linchan's first pitch--a hanging curve--down the left-field line for a double. McAvoy then reached third on a sacrifice, and scored on first baseman Bob Kimutis's single.
But Linchan settled down, and the Crimson hitters gave him some support. Barry Cronin walked with one out in the second. Designated hitter Driscoll singled to right, and Cronin tried to take third. Dick Cummings--brother of Bob and second-game Lion starter Geoff-rifled a perfect throw to third in plenty of time to gun down Cronin. But Cronin's hard slide knocked the ball loose, allowing him to score.
The Crimson got two more in the third when Sciolla's bases-loaded blooper to right--which probably should have been caught--dropped for a single, and Jimmy Thomas barely beat the throw to the plate. Shortstop Eddle Dursd then scored on the play when the ball got by Pettinger.
Fran Cronia added the Crimson's last marker with a homer in the fourth.
Although Linchan couldn't top Driscoll's performance be stayed out of serious trouble until the seventh inning. With two out, two walks and a single loaded the bases, and Crimson coach Loyal Park decided Linchan had had enough.
With the winning run at the plate in the form of pinch-hitter Jim Bruno. Frank LeBlanc came to the mound. Bruno worked LeBlane to a full count, and then meekly tapped the ball back to LeBlane, who threw to Hogan at first to preserve the win, the Crimson's fifteenth against two losses.
The double victories satisfied Park, especially since Columbia knocked off Eastern League contender Dartmouth on Friday. But Park acknowledges that his team is not yet in top form. "We really need that third starter, and Mark (Linchan) came through for us today," Park said after the games.
And though the Crimson made only one error Saturday, Park knows his charges can't count on near perfect defense all the time, and will have to score more runs. But Park says this will come.
"We lost three key players last week--Hogan, Goetz and Driscoll--and just got them back this weekend, even though they're not quilte fully ready. As soon as we're in solid physical shape, we'll be fine."
The difference a healthy Goetz, Hogan and Driscoll makes should be apparent this afternoon when the Crimson try to avenge last Monday's loss to Tufts.
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