“We plan to play Harvard softball,” Ricciardone said. “[We want to] execute good pitches and have solid defense.”
As a staff, Harvard’s pitchers have done just that. The group boasts a 2.38 ERA and has held opponents to a .252 batting average on the year.
In fact, earlier this season, Harvard held No. 22 Louisiana State scoreless for 12 innings en route to a 1-0 win in Baton Rouge.
The rotation has also combined to pitch four total shutouts and has surrendered just one run on three separate occasions to earn victories.
“We are looking for strong starts out of Laura, Taylor, and Morgan,” Crimson coach Jenny Allard said. “We are looking at our pitchers to come out and be strong in the first inning, attacking their offense.”
Although the Ivy League has a reputation where any matchup can be unpredictable, the Princeton offense has been far from impressive so far in its campaign.
Senior Maddie Cousens and junior Rachel Rendina have been the Tigers’ best hitters, but Allard is confident that if Harvard focuses on its own play, it should be just fine.
“We are focused on ourselves,” Allard said. “Princeton is still a great team, and it’s going to be a great matchup.”
Since returning from California, Allard has been preparing her team by emphasizing the importance of coming out strong to begin games. Consistency will be key, especially at the start of conference play.
Though Princeton has struggled to find wins as of late, Harvard will still have to come out with hot bats if it wants to have a 2-0 record after Saturday.
Indeed, the team takes on Cornell the next day, and the bus ride to Ithaca will feel much shorter if the Crimson can do just that.
“We’re excited to being conference play,” Allard said. “We need to focus on playing our game and coming out strong. Pitching, defense, and timely hits will be important. We are trying to fire on all cylinders.”
—Staff writer Andrew Farber can be reached at email@example.com.