A tragedy of errors in the top of the tenth inning and a curious inability to bring runners home from scoring position gave the Harvard baseball team its third straight loss yesterday, as a visiting Holy Cross squad sneaked by the Crimson, 8-5.
Five times on the afternoon the Harvard batsmen failed to bring a runner home from third base, and on two occasions the Crimson went scoreless after putting men on second and third with none out.
But the play that lost the game came in the top of the tenth. Reliever Ron Steward seemed out of the inning when he got two quick outs, but he gave up a single to the seventh hitter and a walk to the eighth hitter to put two men on.
Number nine batter Tom Scannel then lined a 2-2 fastball to the left side of the infield, which Harvard shortstop Burke St. John--who had broken out of his slumping ways earlier in the game with two shot singles and heady play in the field--booted into right-center to give the Crusaders two runs.
The tragedy of errors continued on the next play, when Crusader lead-off man Peter Colombo sent Scannell around third with a line single to left. Scannell came in standing up when Harvard left fielder Jim Peccerillo's throw sailed high, and Colombo made it all the way to third when Steward--backing up home--tried to get Colombo at second and javelined the ball into center field.
The Crimson threatened to erase the three-run deficit in the bottom of the tenth, as Mike Stenhouse, Mark Bingham and Peccerillo walked to load the bases with none out. But pinch-hitter Rick Pearce struck out looking, and designated hitter Dave Knoll ripped a line drive right at third baseman Neil Solomon, who doubled off a helpless Stenhouse.
The Crusaders had taken charge early in the contest, chipping away at Harvard starter Jim Keyte for single runs in the first, third and seventh, while the Crimson scored just once in the first seven innings, on St. John's RBI single in the fifth.
Keyte--who pitched well, considering the gusting winds--wen to the showers, in the eighth when Ronnie Perry singled, advanced to second on a sacrifice by the cleanup hitter, and scored when first baseman Bingham fielded a grounder cleanly but threw past Keyte covering first. Steward struck out slugger Rick Allen to end the inning and keep Harvard within three.
The Crimson offense gave Stewart all he needed to win in the bottom half of that frame, knocking out Crusader starter Dick Ostrander with a five-hit, four-run flurry.
St. John (single), Bobby Kelley (single), Chuck Marshall (double), Stenhouse (intentional walk), Bingham (single), and Charlie Santos-Buch (single) collaborated for the scoring spree, giving the Crimson its first lead of the day.
But the Crusaders touched up Steward for a single run in the ninth, and then came the tragic tenth.
"I'm disappointed, obviously, but at least the kids hustled," coach Alex Nahigian said after the game. "All I can ask 'em to do is their best."
For now, with the season slip-sliding away and the record falling to 13-11, that's not quite good enough.
THE NOTEBOOK: Football captain Steve Potysman came up with the best line of the year by a spectator yesterday, when Crusader basketball star and shortstop Ronnie Perry bobbled a grounder for a fifth inning error. "Somebody should tell him he doesn't have to dribble it first." Poty said. E--Perry, Solomon, Allen, Johnson, Bingham, St. John, Stewart. DP--Holy Cross 3, Harvard 1. LOB Holy Cross 8, Harvard 11. 2B--Rockwell, Skaff, Marshall. 3B--Solomon. S--Solomon. SF--Colombo. Save--O'Quinn. HBP--by Barry (Knoll). WP--Ostrander 2, O'Quinn. A--150.
E--Perry, Solomon, Allen, Johnson, Bingham, St. John, Stewart. DP--Holy Cross 3, Harvard 1. LOB Holy Cross 8, Harvard 11. 2B--Rockwell, Skaff, Marshall. 3B--Solomon. S--Solomon. SF--Colombo. Save--O'Quinn. HBP--by Barry (Knoll). WP--Ostrander 2, O'Quinn. A--150.
Save--O'Quinn. HBP--by Barry (Knoll). WP--Ostrander 2, O'Quinn. A--150.