The shutout has plagued the Harvard softball team all season long.
And when the season ended yesterday afternoon at Soldiers Field with a doubleheader against Brown, the unfriendly but all too familiar doughnut was bouncing around for the seventh and final time of the year.
The Bruins (4-2 Ivy) swept the Crimson, 5-2 and 3-0, to close out the season for Harvard (11-11 overall). The two Ivy losses dropped Harvard's league record to 2-6, one game ahead of last-place Penn in the five-team league.
"They were two very winnable games," Harvard Coach John Wentzell said.
The way the twinbill started, the Crimson looked like a team ready to win. Harvard jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the opening game. Singles by Co-Captain Mary Baldauf, Liz Crowley and Co-Captain Sharon Hayes loaded the bases. Beth Reilly walked in Baldauf and Crowley scored on an error.
But the doughnuts were bouncing.
"When you don't score runs, you just don't win games," Wentzell said.
When you don't score runs, the pressure falls on the starting pitching. And Harvard hurler Lora Rowning Kept the Crimson in the game until the seventh inning.
With the score tied at two, the Bruins reeled off four hits and capitalized on a fielder's choice and a walk to score three runs.
All-Ivy shorstop Teresa Hershauser led the Brown offense with three hits and scored two runs.
Lee Polikoff started the second game and held the Bruins to a run in six innings. But like Rowning, Polikoff found trouble in the final inning and gave up two unearned runs.
"The second game was kind of uneventful," Wentzell said. "We were kind of waiting."
Nikki Pliner notched the victory for the Bruins with a three-hitter. Lisa Gowlic won the first game for Brown.
Crowley and Hayes led Crimson hitters with four hits apiece.
The twinbill summarized the kind of year it was for Harvard. A year that saw the Crimson have problems swinging the bat.
"We never got consistent at the plate," Wentzell said.
The Crimson will lose only two seniors this year, but the loss will be a big one. Baldauf and Hayes--Harvard's double-play combination for the last four years--will graduate, leaving a big gap to fill in the middle infield for next year's team.
Rowning and Polikoff, a formidable pitching duo, will return. So will Crowley, Harvard's most consistent hitter this year. By then, perhaps no more doughnuts will be bouncing around Soldiers Field.