Senior infielder Whitney Shaw scored a run and reached base twice on walks during the Harvard softball team’s two-game sweep of Columbia on Friday at Soldiers Field. The Crimson grabbed the opener, 8-0, and then followed with another shutout victory, 4-0, later that same day.
It was the tale of two pitchers on Friday afternoon, as senior Rachel Brown and sophomore Laura Ricciardone combined for two complete-game shutouts to propel the Harvard softball team to back-to-back wins against Columbia. Brown and Ricciardone only allowed four hits total, while the Crimson posted 22 of its own in the 8-0 and 4-0 wins.
“That’s been one of the things that we’ve always wanted to work on, shutting teams out and setting the pace of the game to be our own pace,” co-captain Whitney Shaw said. “That was really crucial, to go in there...and show them that it was our game.”
HARVARD 4, COLUMBIA 0
After a dominant 8-0 victory in the first half of the day’s doubleheader, the Crimson (19-9, 7-1 Ivy) was able to pull out another sweep over the Lions (9-22, 3-5), who mustered only three hits against Ricciardone.
The win was Ricciardone’s seventh of the season.
“[Pitching a shutout] was great, but you know, the pitchers are only one part of it.... The defense is the bigger part,” Ricciardone said. “My defense was behind me and solid the whole game.”
Neither team was able to get on the board for the first four-and-a-half innings, but in the bottom of the fifth, Harvard finally found its rhythm, scoring four runs.
Freshman Katherine Lantz started the scoring with her second RBI single of the day, driving in sophomore Allison Scott—who was on base after a single of her own—to take the 1-0 lead. Lantz then helped extend the Crimson lead by stealing second, which allowed junior Jessica Ferri to score on the throw.
Harvard continued putting runs on the board after sophomore Shelbi Olson drove in two runs with a single up the middle, building the Crimson’s lead to four. The Lions were unable to mount a comeback in the final innings, earning only one hit against Ricciardone to finish the day.
HARVARD 8, COLUMBIA 0 (6 inn.)
Thanks to dominating performances in the circle and at the plate, Harvard kicked off its four-game homestand with an 8-0 rout of Columbia.
“Every game in the Ivies has so much weight riding on it...and every win gets us that much closer to winning our division and making it to the championship,” Ricciardone said. “Everyone knew that, so we came out and did what we had to do.”
The Crimson took control of the game from the first inning with senior Jane Alexander leading off with a triple to right field, followed by an RBI single from Kasey Lange two batters later to put Harvard up 1-0.
Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Scott came up with her own RBI single to bring two runners in. Lantz tacked on another with an RBI single up the middle to open the early lead to four.
The Crimson scored again in the second after junior Stephanie Regan drove in Lange, whose deep double to left center was nearly her fifth home run of the year.