Softball Splits First Two ILCS Games
Staring at what could have been the last out of its season, the Harvard softball team didn’t falter—it delivered.
Sophomore Mari Zumbro’s single in the bottom of the eighth gave the Crimson new life, and two batters later, senior Jen Francis blasted a three-run dinger to straightaway center to bring Harvard back from the brink and force a deciding third game in the Ivy League Championship Series.
The Crimson’s 4-2 win over Cornell in the nightcap came after a 3-1 loss in the series opener at Niemand*Robison Field in Ithaca, N.Y. on Friday.
“It was a battle, it really was,” sophomore pitcher Rachel Brown said. “I really thought it could have gone either way if we had caught some lucky breaks…We’re really proud of the way we played.”
HARVARD 4, CORNELL 2
In a game that was mostly quiet—each team scored in the first inning and didn’t cross the plate again until extra frames—Harvard needed some fireworks to keep its season alive.
The Big Red got a run off Crimson ace Brown in the top of the eighth to snap a 1-1 tie. Alyson Intihar belted a single up the middle that scored Marissa Amiraian from second with the go-ahead run.
In its last half inning, with the best-of-three series on the line, Harvard got off to an inauspicious start. Sophomore cleanup hitter Whitney Shaw grounded out to third to open the inning, and freshman Jessica Ferri chased an offering from Cornell hurler Elizabeth Dalrymple to make the second out of the inning.
Zumbro—who had started just five games prior to this weekend’s series—then stepped to the plate with the season on her shoulders.
The sophomore left fielder, playing in place of injured junior Emily Henderson, connected with an 0-1 pitch and got aboard with a single to right-center.
“Mari stepped up huge,” co-captain Margaux Black said. “She came in, she came in confident, and she looked like she’d been playing in left field all season. She really added a lot of energy to our lineup.”
Senior Jessica Pledger followed with a single to third base before being pulled for sophomore pinch runner Eve Rosenbaum.
That brought up Francis, who had struck out three times in the game.
“Coach put it the best,” Black said. “We were on our last breath, and Jen Francis gave us CPR.”
After taking a called first strike, Francis drove Dalrymple’s second pitch over the fence for the walkoff win.