Co-captain Michele McAteer pitched well in relief, notching two shutout innings against Toledo and five against Buffalo.
In the first of three plane trips the Harvard softball team will take before once setting foot on its home turf, the Crimson headed down to Florida to compete in the Plant City Tournament this weekend.
In its opening games, the Harvard competed against Toledo, Temple, Buffalo and Michigan State. The competition had a total of 37 games under its collective belt, and the lack of relative game experience for Harvard (1-3) was evident over the weekend.
MICHIGAN STATE 5, HARVARD 0
Harvard ended its road trip on a sour note yesterday when Michigan State dealt it a 5-0 shut-out.
Sophomore Shelly Madick was the starting pitcher for Harvard, pitching the first three innings. She only allowed one run on three hits, but was handed the loss when the Crimson’s offense just couldn’t generate runs—or hits.
“Not much happened on offense,’ assistant coach Terri Teller said. “The team just couldn’t produce.”
The Crimson’s offense was salvaged a bit with help from Lauren Brown and Susie Winkeller, who were able to contribute to a three-hit Harvard performance.
BUFFALO 4, HARVARD 3
Freshman Bailey Vertovez made her first start as a Crimson pitcher yesterday after a strong relief outing on Saturday against Temple. Over the first four innings, Vertovez allowed four runs on six hits and was charged with the loss. Co-captain Michele McAteer was able to contribute three innings of scoreless relief to hold the Bulls to four runs.
The Crimson’s offense came close, but ultimately just couldn’t catch up to Buffalo. Junior Lauren Brown hit a two-run homer in the sixth to cap Harvard’s effort. Junior co-captain Julia Kidder went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and her classmate Susie Winkeller went 1-for-4 and tallied an RBI.
HARVARD 8, TEMPLE 2
The Crimson scored right off the bat in Saturday’s second game and kept the hits coming against the Owls. Harvard opened the game up in the third inning, scoring four runs—two off a broken Temple play. Junior co-captain Julia Kidder hit a single. Lauren Brown, who is also a junior, attempted a sacrifice bunt but the Owl defense was able to snatch up the ball and throw it to first. The ball was overthrown, however, and went all the way down the right field line, allowing Brown to circle two bases, scoring herself and Kidder. The other two Crimson runs in the third were scored off of three walks.
Watkins started the game and got the win, recording three strike-outs. She had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning, and allowed one run and one hit before Bailey Vertovez came on in relief. Vertovez, in her collegiate pitching debut, gave up one run off three hits and tallied three strike-outs.
Kidder got the game started with a single, followed by a base on balls for Brown. Freshman Hayley Bock advanced them on a sacrifice bunt and Winkeller drove them home with a two-RBI single.
Freshman Suzi Cominski‘s pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the fifth drove in Vertovez, securing another run for Harvard. Senior Erin Halpenny hit a double in the same inning.
TOLEDO 8, HARVARD 5
Until the bottom of the last inning, it looked as if Harvard had its season opener in the bag. The Crimson had dominated the entire game, despite allowing the Rockets offense a four-run fourth inning. Sophomore Amanda Watkins came to the mound in the sixth inning and held Toledo scoreless in her first inning of relief. In the bottom of the seventh, with just two outs to go to secure a 5-4 Crimson victory, Toledo sophomore Valerie Moxim hit a grand slam to end the game with an 8-4 win for the Rockets.
Madick started on the mound and held Toledo scoreless through the first three innings.
“We had some really good defensive plays,” McAteer said.
After a long fourth inning for the Crimson offense, during which the team scored four of its five runs—thanks, in part, to a solo homer from junior Susie Winkeller—the defense showed its fatigue and allowed Toledo to score four runs.
“We lost a little momentum after such a long offensive inning,” Teller said. “They fought back and scored.”
The Crimson was still on top by one run and McAteer maintained the lead with her solid pitching through the fourth and fifth innings, giving up no runs on only two hits while tallying three strike-outs.
Harvard’s offensive production was powered by seniors Rachel Murray and Pilar Adams. Murray went 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run, while Adams went 2-for-4 with a single and a double.
—Staff writer Elyse N. Hanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.