Softball Comes Up Just Short to Loyola Marymount
In its first weekday game of the season, the Harvard softball team lost a close 8-7 game to Loyola Marymount. The Crimson played its first game since taking its annual trip to San Diego the previous weekend, going 2-3 in the San Diego Classic II.
Harvard fell behind early, with starting pitcher sophomore Gabrielle Ruiz giving up five runs in the first inning. Marymount’s Maciel hit a two-run double to cap the rally inning for the Lions
The Crimson chipped away at the lead through the rest of the game, scoring one in the second, two in the third and two in the fifth, battling back to tie it at 5-5.
However, the Lions came right back scoring three in the bottom of the frame, thanks to two home runs on behalf of the Loyola Maramount offense. Harvard replied with two runs in the top of the sixth, but was unable to score again, dropping its sixth one-run loss of the season.
“We’re definitely making strides and making going in the right direction. Some time one piece isn’t working quite right and we lose,” said junior captain Shelbi Olson.
Although the game did not end in the Crimson’s favor, the Harvard offense shone. The bats were alive for Harvard, totaling nine hits, one shy of garnering its second double- digit tally of the season.
Unlike the game against Ball State where the Crimson posted 10 hits, sophomore infielder Emily Gusse was not the only player to blast an extra base hit, although she did hit her second home run of the season. This time the effort was very well balanced with three different Crimson bats, freshman infielder Haley Davis, junior infielder Kasey Lange and freshman outfielder Zoe Galindo all hitting doubles as well.
The Crimson also had a flawless day on the field, making no errors on the afternoon. The pitchers combined for only one strikeout, so the fielders had to be on their toes to make putouts when the ball was hit their way.
“We had really effective at bats,” Coach Jenny Allard said. “We really have grown defensively. We were scoring one or two runs an inning. [However] we weren’t effective on the mound.”
The Crimson pitchers, who have combined for a 4.11 ERA so far this season, were unable to match the opposing team in batting and fielding. Ruiz struggled, failing to make it out of the first inning on her way to giving up five earned runs. Reliever Jamie Hulula pitched three shutout innings before giving up two home runs in her fourth inning of work.
Freshman Morgan Groom was perhaps one bright spot on the day, making quick work of the four batters she faced.
The Crimson will have two more doubleheaders—one this weekend at Syracuse, and one next Tuesday in its home opener against Rhode Island—before the Ivy League campaign begins.
“Every year we are shooting for the Ivy League title,” said Olsen. “Those games are almost easier for use. Since every game is important we are always there mentally.”
With the improvements to its offense and fielding finally paying dividends, Harvard is excited to start its defense of the 2012 Ivy League title.
“Every year is different but we have a good core group still and we know what it takes to get there, and we have everything we need to get there,” continued Olsen.
This year’s group is beginning to hit stride at just the right time, feeling the positive effects of tough competition in California. However, they know that they must continue to improve and meld all facets of their game in order to succeed in Ivy League play.
“We know what it feels like for our pitchers to do well, we know what it feels like for out batters to do well,” said Allard. “We have had good outings at different times. We just need [everything] to come together.”
—Staff writer Jacob Lynch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.