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Most coaches will tell you that nothing is better for morale on a baseball team than a big inning. If so, then Harvard baseball Coach Leigh Hogan's heroes should be sky high today after their 23-4 shellacking of the Division III Tufts University Jumbos yesterday in Medford.
The Crimson scored 12 runs on a plethora of Jumbo pitchers in the sixth inning, making a laughter out of an already lopsided 8-0 game.
Even more heartening to the Harvard squad was the fact that it played flawless defense, something which has been lacking all season as the Crimson has staggered out to a 5-10 record.
The game started off well for Harvard as they got a run in the top of the first. A single by red-hot junior Jim Mwroka, who is nine for his last 12, was followed by a double by smooth sophomore Mike Hill.
The surging offense put seven more runs on the board before the prolific sixth, during which Captain Marcel Durand had two singles, while Dan Scanlan and Pat Hegarty each added doubles. All in all, the Crimson scored nine times before the first out was recorded and batted around twice in the inning.
The offensive standout of the afternoon was designated hitter Nick DelVecchio, who has started off the season in strong fashion. The power-hitting junior hit leadoff homers in both the second and fifth innings.
However, as overpowering as the offensive onslaught was, it should not overshadow a solid Crimson defensive performance. On the hill, clever junior southpaw Tom Hurley hurled hurled five, pressure-free, shutout innings to garner the win.
"Once we jumped out to the big early lead, it was up to me to just throw strikes so that we could get the win," Hurley said.
After Hurley, junior Peter Rau came on to pitch a scoreless sixth. Junior Tom Baxter and sophomores Tony Lancette and Chip Poncy followed for one inning apiece. Lancette and Baxter each gave up two runs while Poncy finished the game on a scoreless note.
But more importantly, the Crimson stayed free of the crucial errors which have plagued it all season long.
"We've been hitting the ball real well all along, but it felt real good to play so well out in the field," Durand said.
The Crimson hit the diamond again tomorrow at home against Holy Cross before kicking off E.I.B.L. competition with doubleheaders at home against Army and Brown over the weekend.
"It would be great if we could beat Holy Cross and then head into the first league weekend with some momentum," Durand said.
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