A 4-3 extra-inning loss to Cornell in the second game of the Saturday doubleheader knocked the Harvard baseball team out of contention for the Eastern League crown, despite impressive wins in the first Cornell game (12-3) and, Friday afternoon at Army (10-3).
The death bell for Harvard tolled in the bottom of the eighth inning in the second game of the twinbill. With the teams tied 1-1 after seven, the Crimson pushed two across in the first extra frame.
Dave Singleton reached on an error by Cornell pitcher Gary Gronowski. Bobby Jenkins, subbing for the injured Paul Halas, sacrificed Singleton over to second. An intentional walk to Mike Stenhouse then put men on first and second, and Mark Bingham's triple chased them home to make it a 3-1 Harvard lead.
But as Coach Loyal Park said after the game, "It wasn't in the cards for us to win," and sure enough, Cornell began to deal in the bottom of the eighth.
With one out and a man on first, Dave Johnson (who, incidentally, is the same Dave Johnson who punted for Cornell this fall and returned a muddy snap 78 yards to ruin Harvard's football season) hit a line drive off Bingham's globe into right field for a double. An intentional walk to Ken Venema loaded the sacks, and a wild pitch by starter Steve Baloff unloaded them and made it 3-2.
Baloff, who was cruising with a three-hitter and totally baffling Big Red batters until the eighth then intentionally walked the next batter to load the bases again and set up a force situation and hopefully a double play.
The situation was there, and seconds later the easy double-play bali bounded to shortstop Burke St. John. St. John misplaced it, forcing the tying run home and keeping the bases full. Baloff then walked the next man on four pitches and it was over.