In the middle portion of its annual spring break trip to California, the Harvard softball team (9-8) split a pair of games with an opening win against Bethune-Cookman (9-18) and a loss to Loyola Marymount (14-10) on Wednesday.
.500 and .111. The Crimson’s batting average with runners in scoring position was the difference between its decisive 9-3 win over B-CU and its 6-3 loss against LMU.
“In the [B-CU] game we rallied hard and put some things together,” Harvard coach Jenny Allard said. “And then in the [LMU] game we had some people up in key situations, and they just didn’t come through.… It’s a good sign that we’re getting so many runners on base, but we just need to be consistently tougher with runners in scoring position.”
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 6, HARVARD 3
With bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning, the Crimson looked as if it might battle back from a 4-0 deficit to take its first lead of the game. But Loyola Marymount rookie Rachael Farrington got freshman Catherine Callaway looking to notch her fifth strikeout of the game and preserved the Lions lead, 4-3.
Loyola Marymount rallied for two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to extend its lead, which was all the run support Farrington would need en route to her first collegiate win, 6-3.
The Crimson fell behind early as junior ace Laura Ricciardone surrendered a grand slam to rookie right fielder Amanda Dirks in the bottom of the first inning. Harvard is not used to playing from behind with Ricciardone on the mound, as she has already recorded complete game shutouts against Texas Tech and Louisiana State University this season.
“[Ricciardone] needs to work through those tough situations, and I know she’s capable of doing it, [so] that’s why I left her in,” Allard said. “Facing that adversity and trying to get to a better spot is what preseason is all about.”
After the first inning, Ricciardone settled in and held the Lions to scoreless in the next three frames to hold the Crimson deficit to four.
Despite having runners on in every inning but the first, Harvard did not break through and score until the fifth inning.
The Crimson and Lions each finished with seven hits in the game, but Loyola Marymount outhit Harvard with runners in scoring position. The Lions scored five runs with two outs, while holding the Crimson to no two-out runs.
In the top of the fifth inning, a string of errors by Loyola Marymount let Harvard back into the game. After junior catcher Katherine Appelbe reached first on an error, back-to-back singles by captain Shelbi Olson and junior second baseman Katherine Lantz loaded the bases for the Crimson. Two consecutive errors by Lions’ infielders allowed Appelbe and Olson to score and cut Loyola Marymount’s lead in half.
The Lions committed three of its four total errors in the fifth inning.
A grounder off the bat of junior first baseman Adrienne Hume scored Lantz from third and brought Harvard within one. Although the Crimson reloaded the bases, the team stranded all three runners and squandered its best opportunity to take the lead.
HARVARD 9, BETHUNE-COOKMAN 4