Gerri Rubin's strong pitching propelled the Harvard softball team to its first-ever victory over MIT yesterday, at Soldier's Field.
Rubin struck out six and allowed only four hits in the Crimson's 5-2 triumph, the squad's second win in two contests.
A junior, and an All-Ivy selection Rubin also picked up the win in Tuesday's season-opening 8-2 defeat of Boston University.
"Gerri was on top of her game," Harvard Coach John Wentzell said. "It's the best we've seen her pitch, and she did a good job on defense, too."
The defensive action came early on, as MIT's leadoff batter laid down a bunt between the mound and first. Rubin snagged the dribbler and threw the ball to second-baseman Mary Baldauf, who was covering first on the play.
The following hitter also grounded to the mound and was retired by Rubin.
In the home half of the first, the Crimson threatened to break the game open, after Baldauf, Mary MacKinnon, and Gia Barresi reached base, loading the sacks with none out. However, all the squad could manage was one tally, on a sacrifice fly to right by Sharon Hayes.
Rubin had to work out of a jam of her own making in the second, after giving up a leadoff triple to MIT pitcher--and cleanup hitter--Lou Jaudura. The drive, a high liner to right center, was cut off in the gap by center-fielder Mary Paul, who pegged the ball back in to keep the runner from scoring.
Jaudura was stranded on third, as Rubin settled down to retire the following three batters, on a pop-up and two strikeouts.
Hardvard increased its lead to three on its next turn at bat. Paul walked with two down, setting the stage for Baldauf--who slammed a line drive over the center-fielder's head for a two-run homer.
"Mary Baldaf has been our sparkplug," Wentzell said of his freshman standout. "She hit the ball on the nose all day."
In the third, Rubin picked up where she had left off in the second, striking oug the side, to give her five consecutive whiffs.
"When Gerri is throwing like that, it makes it all easy," Wentzell said.
Neither side scored again until the sixth, although Harvard mounted a threat in the fourth with a pair of two-out singles by Baldauf and pinch-hitter Joan Cunningham.
In the top of the sixth, however, MIT's first two batters reached base--the first on an infield single to third, and the second on a routine grounder, when shortstop Hayes' throw skipped off first-baseman Trisha Brown's glove.