Lackluster Offense Leads to Season-Ending Sweep

The Harvard softball team received excellent pitching from each of its two starters, but couldn’t get things going at the plate as Dartmouth swept a doubleheader in Hanover on Saturday afternoon 3-0, 3-2, to close out Ivy League play for both clubs.

Big Green pitching held the Crimson scoreless for thirteen consecutive innings to start the afternoon. Harvard (20-23, 6-8 Ivy) managed only seven hits on the day, while Dartmouth (14-22, 7-7 Ivy) banged out fourteen.

During the month of April, the Crimson has struggled to put runs on the board. In the last weekend of league play, its sluggish offense spoiled two solid starts from its pitching staff.

“We weren’t making adjustments at the plate, we weren’t laying off pitches,” Harvard coach Jenny Allard said. “We just were not focused enough offensively.”

DARTMOUTH 3, HARVARD 2

The second game was a heartbreaker for the Crimson, who scored two runs in the top of the seventh to take its first lead of the doubleheader, only to see Dartmouth tie it with an unearned run in the bottom of the frame and eventually win the game in the tenth on a walk-off single by Ashley Gleason.

“We’ve struggled all year to finish games, to close things out,” Allard said. “Dartmouth got timely hits, and we didn’t.”

The Crimson lineup could muster only three hits against Dartmouth starter Stephanie Trudeau, while the Big Green banged out ten. Trudeau was dominant on the hill, allowing only two runs on three hits while going all ten innings for Dartmouth.

Down 1-0 after being held scoreless on the day, Harvard finally managed to get something going in the seventh. Junior Lauren Brown walked to start the inning, and junior co-captain Julia Kidder joined her on base after being hit by a pitch. Senior Erin Halpenny (2-for-5) then doubled to right, scoring both runners and giving the Crimson its first lead of the afternoon.

But Dartmouth came right back to tie it in the bottom of the seventh as Katie Chifcian doubled to left-center, pushing an unearned run across the plate to tie the game at 2. That set up the dramatic bottom of the tenth for Gleason, who singled home Kelly Fry to win it.

Harvard got another strong start on the mound, this time from sophomore Amanda Watkins, who gave up only two runs (one earned) on seven hits and notched one strikeout. Sophomore Shelly Madick came in for two and two thirds innings of relief, allowing the winning run on three hits and taking the loss.

DARTMOUTH 3, HARVARD 0

The Crimson and Big Green went five innings in a scoreless tie before Dartmouth broke the game open with a three-run sixth inning.

Madick got the start for Harvard and kept the Crimson’s stagnant offense in the game for five and a third innings, allowing a run on three hits with six strikeouts.

But Dartmouth sophomore Angela Megaw outdid Madick, notching the shutout while striking out six and walking only one. Harvard was only able to punch out four hits, including two from freshman Bailey Vertovez. Vertovez had a busy Game One, coming on in relief of Madick to give up two runs and three hits over the final two and two-thirds innings.

“[Megaw] really mixed her speeds well and hit her spots,” Madick said. “Things just didn’t go our way at the plate.”

“They strung hits together and got runners on base, and we didn’t,” Allard added. “That was the difference in both games.”

The sweep pushed the Crimson below .500 in the Ivy League this season.

“This wasn’t what anybody wanted or expected—we’re obviously disappointed,” Madick said. “We didn’t finish or play the way we know we can.”

Harvard closes out the regular season Thursday at 3 pm as it hosts a doubleheader against Boston College.

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