Harvard’s continuing strong defensive play, as well as a resurrected offense, helped secure both wins. In Harvard’s two previous doubleheaders, players had failed to score more than five runs, and Coach Jenny Allard was happy to see the team’s offense come alive.
“We were solid today,” Allard said. “I think we came out really aggressive offensively. It was nice to see us stay in our swing and not be over anxious.”
The Crimson players were undoubtedly excited to be playing in front of their home fans for the first time this season.
“Oh my gosh! That was so cool!” said freshman Rachel Brown, the Ivy League Pitcher and Rookie of the Week. “When I came on my recruiting trip, I pictured being out on this field. It was really exciting, and having our fans here was really cool.”
HARVARD 10, RHODE ISLAND 3
Following its first game victory, the Crimson took the field looking to sweep the Rams. After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning, the Crimson rallied in the bottom of the frame, scoring two runs, aided by three Rhode Island errors.
In the bottom of the second inning, freshman Jane Alexander scored on sophomore Ellen Macadam’s double down the left field line to increase Harvard’s lead to 3-1. Junior Jennifer Francis collected an RBI in third, before helping home junior Melissa Schellberg, who is also a Crimson sports editor, by distracting the Rams in a rundown.
Rhode Island put two runs on the board in the fifth inning, courtesy of Courtney Prendergastt’s deep two-run home run with two outs, cutting Harvard’s lead to 5-3. The Crimson, however, answered with a prolific attack in the bottom-half of the inning.
Freshman Whitney Shaw led off with a double off the centerfield fence and scored on Schellberg’s single up the middle, which ricocheted off of the pitcher’s glove. With Schellberg still on the base paths, Francis stepped up to the plate and drove a ball over the wall in dead center field to give Harvard an 8-3 lead.
For Francis, the home run was the tenth of her Crimson career, moving her into tenth place on Harvard’s career home run list and equaling her place on the Crimson’s all-time RBI list—a mark she reached in the day’s first contest.
“I didn’t even know [of my standing],” Francis said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. They just pump me up.”
“Jen’s been having some great at bats lately so it was nice to see her today really connect and get a hold of one,” Allard added. “She’s an offensive spark for us.”
Harvard added two more runs in the inning, to bring its lead to 10-3 and both teams went scoreless in the sixth and seventh to finish the game.
HARVARD 6, RHODE ISLAND 0
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Crimson offense struck first in the third inning. Macadam singled to center field to drive in sophomore Emily Henderson, but the Harvard bats were not finished. With two outs in the inning, Schellberg doubled in two runs and was driven in herself by Francis’ double to left field.
Harvard took the field in the top-half of the fourth inning ahead 4-0—a comfortable lead with Brown on the mound. The rookie phenom continued her dominance as a starter, pitching four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out nine.
“I felt good going out, and I had a few days off leading up to this, so I felt pretty sharp,” Brown said. “We limited innings and let all the pitchers pitch in preparation for this coming weekend.”
In the bottom of the fourth and with two outs, Macadam singled in junior Stephanie Krysiak, who is also a Crimson sports editor, and advanced to third base on an overthrow. Shaw then doubled in Macadam to give Harvard a 6-0 lead, the final score of the game.
Freshman Marika Zumbro pitched a scoreless fifth inning for Harvard, and junior Margaux Black closed out the game with two no-hit innings.
The Crimson now prepares for its weekend doubleheaders against Ivy League rivals Cornell and Princeton.
“We’re just going to play our game and stay within ourselves,” Francis said. “They’re big opponents, but if we play our game we’ll be great.”