Harvard softball suffered its first loss in almost two weeks yesterday afternoon against the University of Rhode Island (28-25).
The Crimson (22-19, 11-3 Ivy) sailed in the early game, winning 6-0. It lost a nail-biter in the second contest, as Harvard was out dueled, 1-0 in eight innings.
After securing a share of the Ivy League title against Dartmouth over the weekend, the Crimson headed to Providence for the first of a series of warm-up games.
In addition to URI, the Crimson will face Boston College on Thursday, in preparation for its three-game series with Cornell to determine who receives the Ivy League’s automatic bid for the NCAA tournament.
URI 1, Harvard 0
The Crimson found itself engaged in an extra-inning pitcher’s duel in the closing game.
Senior Chelsea Thoke, who started the game, was more than up to the challenge, as she pitched three hitless innings to start the game.
Despite striking out six, Thoke was pulled from the game, and freshman standout Kara Brotemarkle was brought in.
Brotemarkle and Ram’s junior hurler Gwen Rack kept the scored at 0-0 until the eighth inning.
In the bottom of the eighth frame, the Rams started with a runner on second, according to the tie-breaker rule.
Sophomore Kristin Havdoglous beat out an infield single to move freshman Jenn Dygon to third.
With runners on the corners, freshman Gabby Zagami laid down a squeeze bunt to bring in the game winner.
Brotemarkle got the loss to drop her record to 10-6 on the season.
Harvard 6, URI 0
In the opener, all Harvard needed was Tiffany Whitton.
She dominated on the mound and at the plate, pitching five scoreless innings and allowing only three hits. In addition to striking out six Rams, Whitton was a perfect 4-for-4 with the bat, with three RBI.
In the first inning, Whitton doubled in the Crimson’s first run, which is all it would need in the game.
She shut down the Rams until the sixth, when senior Chelsea Thoke took the ball.
Thoke was nearly perfect in relief, allowing only one hit in two innings of work.
The Crimson offense gave her three insurance runs in the sixth frame, and was sparked throughout the game by the hot bat of freshman third baseman Breanne Cooley.
Harvard saw its eight-game winning streak snapped, but remains confident going into the all-important weekend contests against the Big Red.
“After beating Dartmouth, we feel like we have control again,” said tri-captain Jen Vogt-Lowell. “We’re playing our game and we’re confident for the rematch (against Cornell).”