Sparked by the late-inning fastball pitching of Gerri Rubin, the women softballers swatted 11 hits to down a struggling Boston College team, 13-8, yesterday at Soldiers Field, boosting their record to a perfect 4-0.
Though the final score suggests an offensive battle, the first third of the game was characterized more by walks and pitching errors than by screaming line drives.
Without effective pitching neither team was able to gain an edge and the lead changed hands three times before Harvard finally jumped ahead for good in the fourth. It made no difference that Crimson Co-Captain Pat Horne and shortstop Ellen Sackaroff were making solid defensive plays as long as the Eagles were dancing around the bases on walks and wild pitches.
While plagued with the same bullpen problems, the Eagles weren't fortunate enough to have a pitcher the likes of Rubin to bail them out, or the defense to stop a team that did.
When Rubin entered the game in the top of the fifth, Harvard led, 8-5, but wasn't in control of the game. The freshman displayed the pitching prowess that has earned her four wins in four games.
The first five batters she faced found that it was much easier to return to the bench than to reach first base. The Cantab pitcher consistently found the outside corner or forced a ground ball for the easy play. "Gerri has been getting stronger in her throwing and has gained more control," Coach John Wentzell said.
The Harvard bats rallied behind Rubin in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Crimson followed a Sackaroff single and steal of second with three consecutive hits. By the end of the inning, Harvard enjoyed a 13-5 lead. The Eagles narrowed the gap by three runs in the seventh, but they were unable to mount a serious threat to Harvard.
The appearance of two Crimson freshmen on the mound illustrates the squad's youth. The starting lineup contains only two seniors, and Wentzell said that his squad's inexperience could pose a problem this weekend.
"We have two against Maine this Sunday that will really be a tougher challenge," he said. "They'll have pitchers comparable or better than Gerri." The Crimson may find itself in a pitching duel, with freshman Rubin holding the Harvard gun. But, as Wentzell says, "for a freshman to be 4-0 you have to like that."