The Harvard softball team is off to a strong start in spring break play after sweeping its first six games on the West Coast.
The Crimson (11-3) went undefeated in five contests in the Northridge Classic before traveling to Los Angeles and downing Utah State, 9-5, on Monday.
“These wins are huge for us, showing not only that we can beat big teams like Oregon and Utah State, but also that we have the consistency to come out strong six games in a row,” senior shortstop Jane Alexander said. “Our success this weekend took everyone on our team. With 21 people, we have pinch runners, pinch hitters, fresh legs in the field, and an overwhelming energy.”
Senior Rachel Brown lived up to her title as this week’s Ivy League Pitcher of the Week, allowing just two runs and striking out 30 batters in 22 2/3 innings pitched.
“Rachel was a force on the mound for us this last weekend,” said co-captain and first baseman Whitney Shaw. “She buckled down against some really strong teams...and gave us some wins that are crucial to achieving our preseason team goals. She was a rock out there this weekend and executed her job brilliantly.”
HARVARD 9, UTAH STATE 5
In its lone game in the City of Angels, Harvard extended its winning streak to six games with a victory over Utah State (8-14).
It was a solid day for the Crimson offense, as five different batters tallied at least two hits. Among those five was sophomore third baseman Kasey Lange, who went 3-for-3 with two RBI doubles and a single.
Sophomore hurler Laura Ricciardone fanned four in five innings to record the win. Brown came on in relief in the sixth and struck out five in under two innings of work.
HARVARD 3, MAINE 2
In its fifth game of the tournament, Harvard extended its winning streak to five games with a 3-2 win against Maine (5-16) on Sunday.
Both squads brought their pitching A-game, with neither being able to score until the fifth inning, when Crimson junior centerfielder Stephanie Regan ripped an RBI double. Harvard soon upped its lead to two runs, as Alexander’s single up the middle drove in Regan.
Freshman first baseman Adrienne Hume smacked an RBI double to earn Harvard one more run in the top of the sixth. The Black Bears responded with a two-run rally in the bottom of the inning but were unable to do any damage to overcome the one-run deficit in the seventh.
HARVARD 3, OREGON STATE 2
Day 3 of the Northridge Classic opened with a close 3-2 Crimson victory over Oregon State (21-7) on Sunday.