Co-captain pitcher Rachel Brown, shown here in earlier action, fanned 14 batters on the way to a 6-2 win in the first of two games at URI.
Last year, the Harvard softball team put up a total of 25 runs to sweep Rhode Island in its two-game series, 10-0 and 15-7. Each of the contests lasted just five innings, as Harvard took home both victories by mercy rule.
But the Crimson squad was unable to repeat its dominant performance this season, splitting yesterday’s doubleheader against the Rams (14-19, 2-4 A-10) at URI Softball Complex. Despite nabbing a 6-2 win in the first game, Harvard (20-10, 7-1 Ivy) failed to keep the rally going in the second contest and was ultimately defeated, 5-1.
“Overall, we had a pretty solid team effort,” said freshman first baseman Adrienne Hume. “We still have some things to work on, and I know we can be much stronger offensively. We have the ability to score a lot more runs than what we showed for today. We came away with the split but definitely could have taken both games.”
RHODE ISLAND 5, HARVARD 1
In the second game of the day, the Crimson fell into an early one-run hole and was unable to dig itself out, losing, 5-1.
For the first three innings of the contest, the Rhode Island defense silenced the Harvard bats, which currently lead the Ivy League with a batting average of .281.
Meanwhile, as the Rams’ infield was shutting out the Crimson, its offense was able to load up the scoreboard with runs.
Courtney Prendergast hit an RBI double in the first inning and Alison Hartzell homered in the second to give Rhode Island a 2-0 lead. The Rams then plated three more batters in the bottom of the third inning to put Harvard in a five-run deficit.
The Rhode Island rally finally ended in the fourth inning, when sophomore hurler Laura Ricciardone came in to replace freshman Gabrielle Ruiz on the mound. Ricciardone went on to pitch a scoreless three innings during which the Rams did not produce a single hit.
The Crimson tried to make a comeback at the top of the sixth inning but was only able to muster up a single run, when right fielder Shelbi Olson scored, unearned, on a throw to second base.
Harvard made one more scoring attempt in the seventh inning but came up empty.
“The team is left with a bitter taste in our mouths that the Rams were able to take one from us,” Ricciardone said. “We’ll carry that with us to [our conference matchup at] Yale this weekend.”
HARVARD 6, RHODE ISLAND 2
The first game of the doubleheader was a defensive battle with the Crimson ultimately coming out on top, 6-2.
Co-captain Rachel Brown was put to the test as soon as she got on the mound, as the first two batters of the Rhode Island offense roped back-to-back singles in the first inning. The third batter then popped out and Brown walked the cleanup hitter, loading the bases with only one out.