Softball Rises to 4-4 in Ivies

Goldberg provides thrills in last ups against Brown

FROSH OUT OF WATER
Jerry M. Chow

Freshman infielder RACHEL MURRAY went 7-for-10 this weekend.

The Harvard softball team seems to have hit its stride, going 3-1 this weekend against Brown and Yale after opening the season 1-3 in Ivy play.

The Crimson (11-21-0, 4-4-0 Ivy) bested the Bulldogs (16-20-0, 4-4-0) easily on Friday and split with the Bears (13-15-1, 4-3-1) on Saturday.

Freshman third baseman Rachel Murray set the offensive tone for the weekend, going 7-for-10 at the plate and driving in seven runs.

Harvard 6, Yale 0

Sophomore Lauren Tanner and freshman Michele McAteer teamed up to hold the Bulldogs to two hits as the Crimson scored in the first and third innings to secure the win.

In the opening frame, the familiar run-producing trio at the top of the order got the scoring underway.

Sophomore left fielder Lauren Stefanchik led off with a double and was promptly bunted over by junior shortstop Rachel Goldberg. With the speedy lead-off hitter on third, tri-captain Tiffany Whitton smoked a single to center for the eventual game-winner.

As Tanner kept the Bulldogs in check from the mound, Harvard was able to tack on four more runs in the third. Again, small ball worked well for the Crimson, as a series of base hits produced the scores.

The biggest hit in the inning was a two-out, two-RBI single by Murray that kept the rally going and provided insurance for Tanner’s lead.

“We came together as a team over this week,” Murray said. “I’m glad I was able to help the team out as much as I could.”

Harvard added a run in the sixth, with freshman Pilar Adams recording the RBI.

Harvard 10, Yale 2

In a game shortened to four and a half innings because of the eight-run mercy rule, junior tri-captain Kara Brotemarkle masterfully controlled the Bulldogs’ bats.

Brotemarkle relied less on her curve ball during the game than she usually does, going to her screw ball and rise ball to compensate for trouble with the curve.

The junior ace had thrown a no-hitter against Columbia last Monday.

“I felt stable and in control during the game,” Brotemarkle said. “There were some mistakes, like the two home runs, but for the most part, I was happy with my performance.”

Murray was 2-for-2 in the contest and blew open the game in the fifth inning with a bases-loaded double to right-center. The hit was the highlight of the Crimson’s five-run frame and closed the door on the Bulldogs.

“Our philosophy in those situations is to really put the game out of reach as much as possible,” Murray said.

Harvard had led 7-1 before Murray’s hit threatened to end the game early. Yale mustered a second run off of Brotemarkle in the top of the fifth, but could not add another to keep the game going.

Harvard 4, Brown 3 (8 inn.)

The Crimson topped the Bears in a come-from-behind thriller in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Goldberg sent a pitch from Brown ace Uchenna Omokaro over the fence in the bottom of the seventh to send the contest into extra innings.

After McAteer held the Bears scoreless in the top of the extra frame, Adams knocked in junior second baseman Sara Williamson to give Harvard the victory and extend the team’s winning streak to six games.

The Crimson was forced to play catch-up early.

The Bears jumped all over starter Tanner and plated three runs in the top of the second. McAteer relieved Tanner and pitched seven scoreless innings to get the win.

“It’s tough to enter the game in such a pressure situation,” McAteer said.

Brown had the bases loaded with no outs before Harvard coach Jenny Allard called on her downball pitcher.

“She just asked me to get some ground balls,” McAteer said. “Luckily, I was able to get two [to third base] and struck one girl out.”

The Crimson clawed its way back into the game with an RBI single by Stefanchik in the sixth before Goldberg delivered the big blow by hitting her sixth home run of the season.

Brown 5, Harvard 1

Brown ended Harvard’s midseason win streak by tagging Brotemarkle for four runs in her four and two-thirds innings of work.

Bears’ freshman Jaimie Wirkowski continued her hot start to her collegiate career by going 2-for-4 and plating two runs.

In the fifth, Brotemarkle was chased by an RBI triple that gave Brown a 4-0 lead.

On the mound for the Bears, Marissa Berkes was in total control, going seven strong innings and only allowing one run—off of Murray’s bat.

“It would have been great to get all four games,” Brotemarkle said. “But we got some wins. We want to concentrate on finishing strong, and not worry about other teams.”

This weekend, the Crimson takes on the two teams at the bookends of the Ivy League, with doubleheaders against Penn and Princeton on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The first-place Tigers have relied on consistency, with their only slip-up coming against Columbia. The Lions (15-17-0, 5-5-0) took Princeton (18-12-1, 8-1-1) to extra innings twice this weekend, so the Tigers’ position atop the league standings can be challenged.

Earlier in the season, Princeton tied Brown, 5-5, in a game that was called due to darkness.

Meanwhile, Penn is the doormat of the Ivies, but capable of upsetting Harvard if the Crimson looks past the Quakers (7-23-1, 1-9-0) on Saturday.

—Staff writer Robert A. Cacace can be reached at cacace@fas.harvard.edu.

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