Maybe this team isn't so good after all. Playing in weather that could best be described as mediocroe, the Harvard baseball team that had been billed as the Great Crimson Hope slogged its way to another performance that could best be described as mediocre yesterday, splitting a doubleheader at Northeastern, 6-4, 1-2.
The signs of mediocrity were everywhere. The bottom third of the lineup continued to hit atrociously. Spot starter Ron Stewart looked awful and had to leave after 21/3 innings of the first game. Perhaps worst of all. All-American slugger Mike Stenhouse has become just another guy in the lineup: Sten went onefor-five on the twinbill, and he flew out to right with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning of the "nightcap."
Both first-games starters--Stewart and Northeastern ace Shawn Brickman--were shaky in the opening innings, as the basepaths looked like Fresh Pond Parkway at rush hour. The Crimson pushed across four runs (enough to win the ballgame, as it turned out) in the first three innings on a Mark Bingham sacrifice fly. RBI singles by Bobby Kelley and Chuck Marshall, and an embarrassing error by Northeastern's hapless third baseman, Kevin Kenny.
The Huskies matched three of those four runs, though, capitalizing on Stewart's inability to locate home plate. The junior righthander yielded only one hit, but he hit one batter and walked six others before coach Alex Nahigian yanked him in favor of southpaw Paul McOsker midway through the third inning.
A hot-and-cold pitcher all year. McOsker was definitely on the warm side yesterday, as he quelled the rally in the third and gave up just one unearned run the rest of the way en route to his first 1979 win.
"I didn't really feel like I had my fastball today, so I kept 'em off balance with my curve," McOsker said after the game. "It's an adventure throwing out there when you don't feel like you can break a pane of glass."
Hard-throwing Northeastern starter Bill Hart doled out eight bases on balls in the second game, but he also fanned seven and held the visitors to just two hits. Firstbaseman Bingham (two-for-four on the day, raising his average to a fearsome .459) once again was the batting star for Harvard, driving in Marshall with a single up the middle in the third inning for the only Crimson run.
Harvard junior Rob Alevizos made the Huskies look silly much of the time, but he lost his concentration in the second and third innings, hanging a couple of sliders that Northeastern turned into four hits and two runs.
When the Crimson left the bases jammed in the sixth--three of ten runners stranded in the game--those two early runs stood up for the victory.
"I wasn't snapping my slider--I hung like four in a row." Alevizos said afterward. "My arm feels good. There are no excuses."
And with the biggest weekend of the season coming up--Friday's Penn game and Saturday's Columbia twinbill--the time for Harvard's semi-slumping baseball team to make excuses about meaningless games is fast coming to a close.
E--Kenny 2, Pearce, St. John, Carroll. Dp-- Northeastern 1. LOB--Harvard 8, Northeastern 10. 2B--Bingham, Stenhouse. 3B--Marshall. S-- Mello, Peccerillo, Skaff. SF--Barry, Bingham.
HBP--Doucette (by Stewart). WP--Brickman, Kelly. PB--Mello.
E--Doucette. LOB--Harvard 10, Northeastern 4. 2B--Barry, Murray. SB--Stenhouse. S--Peccerillo, Pearce, Fishman.