The Harvard softball team split its doubleheader against Dartmouth on Sunday in Hanover, N.H. Having split Saturday’s doubleheader as well, the Crimson comes out of this weekend with two conference losses against the Big Green. Before the four-game series, Harvard had lost only one Ivy League match, when it fell to Cornell in late March.
After shutting out Dartmouth, 4-0, in the first contest of the day, the Crimson (31-13, 17-3 Ivy) could not keep the momentum going into the second game and ultimately fell, 9-3, to the Big Green (14-25, 7-13).
Harvard struggled in the second matchup without sophomore pitcher Laura Ricciardone, who suffered a sprained ankle the day before. Over the past two seasons, Ricciardone has paired with co-captain Rachel Brown to form a one-two punch that has been crucial to the Crimson’s success both this season and last, when the team won the Ivy League championship.
But on Saturday, Ricciardone went down during the fifth inning after holding Dartmouth to one run on three hits, keeping her off the mound on Sunday.
“Not having Laura on the mound is definitely hard for our team,” senior shortstop Jane Alexander said. “She’s such a strong presence in the circle, and we love having her out there. She’s very dependable and such a strong force for our team.”
Ricciardone is expected to return in time for the Ivy League Championship Series in two weeks.
DARTMOUTH 9, HARVARD 3
In the second game of the day, Ricciardone’s absence, paired with the team’s offensive struggles, appeared to hurt the Crimson, as it fell, 9-3.
After a scoreless first inning, the Big Green was the first team on the scoreboard, plating in a run in the bottom of the second.
Harvard was unable to respond at the plate in the third, and Dartmouth continued its rally in the bottom half, scoring six more runs to put the Crimson in a seven-run hole.
In the fourth inning, Harvard got on the board.
Sophomore third baseman Kasey Lange reached first after getting hit by a pitch and then advanced to second base on freshman Katherine Appelbe’s single. Rookie Katie Lantz grounded out, allowing Lange to touch home, and freshman Adrienne Hume gained first on an infield error, putting Appelbe in scoring position.
Appelbe then scored on a passed ball, and the third Crimson run came in when junior Jess Ferri singled up the middle to knock in Hume.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Crimson replaced rookie hurler Gabby Ruiz with senior Marika Zumbro, who held the Big Green scoreless for the next two innings.
“Mari and Gabby haven’t really gotten in many innings throughout the season, so to do what they did was really great,” Brown said. “I think they’ll only improve given more opportunities.”