The Harvard softball team swept Brown this weekend, keeping pace with Dartmouth to remain undefeated in the Ivy League.
The homestanding Crimson (21-11, 7-0 Ivy) did not trail once over four games against a struggling Bears squad (2-26, 0-12).
“It's a great feeling to be undefeated so far, but we know there is still a lot of work to be done,” captain Kasey Lange said.
Harvard 5, Brown 2
Harvard hit three home runs for five runs off three different bats en route to a clean win over the Bears.
The Crimson got off to an early four-run lead thanks to back-to-back innings with two-run homers, one from Lange in the first, her fifth of the season, and one from junior Adrienne Hume the next inning. Junior Emily Gusse also added a solo shot in the Sixth inning.
“It was great for us to show a lot of power this weekend,” Lange said. “It definitely reflects the versatility of our offense. We have a little bit of everything going for us.”
Sophomore pitcher Morgan Groom started the game for Harvard, posting two perfect innings and striking out three to pick up her third win of the season. Freshman Taylor Cabe came in for a five-inning relief stint, giving up two runs on five hits.
The weekend sweep keeps Harvard undefeated in Ivy League play. The Crimson still trails Dartmouth, which has contested more games on its way to a 12-0 start.
“This weekend was important in the Ivy League race, like every weekend is,” Groom said. “Looking forward, we just need to stay with our process and execute. We play best when we're loose and having a good time, so if we do those things, we'll continue to do well.”
Harvard 6, Brown 4
The Crimson came out of the gate strong, posting six runs over the first two innings and then cruising the rest of the way to its first win of Sunday. Sloppy play led to runs for Brown late, but Harvard was able to do just enough to hold on.
Junior Katherine Lantz blasted a three-run home run in the first to put the Crimson ahead early. A barrage of doubles in the second gave Harvard three more unearned runs to put them in front six runs.
“Lantz had a stellar weekend,” Groom said. “She hit great and pounded a home run and made stellar plays on defense.”
Junior Laura Ricciardone took the mound for the Crimson, posting four scoreless innings for her 11th win of the season. Junior reliever Gabrielle Ruiz allowed four runs as the Bears clawed back into the game late, yet only one of those runs was earned.
Harvard 4, Brown 0
Cabe tossed a complete game shut out as the Crimson won the nightcap of the first doubleheader of the weekend against Brown. The win gave Crimson a Saturday sweep, its first of the Ivy League season.
Gusse belted a triple in the bottom of the third to put the Crimson in front two runs and Ricciardone, helping out on the offense end instead of on the mound, tacked on another run with an RBI single to push Gusse across the plate.
Cabe struck out ten and only walked one in a dominant performance. It was her fifth win of the season and fourth complete game.
Harvard 4, Brown 1
Harvard jumped out to an early lead to give Ricciardone a lead that she never relinquished, pitching a one-run complete game for her 10th win of the season.
In its first offensive frame of the weekend, the Crimson posted five singles to drive in three runs, one with the help of an illegal pitch from Brown’s Leah Nakashima and one from Lange, who is second in the Ivy League with 24 on the season.
The next frame, captain Shelbi Olson added a run on a fielder’s choice to augment the Crimson advantage.
In the bottom of the sixth, with Brown threating to score another run, Ricciardone struck out Brown’s Kelsey Williams. The junior Harvard pitcher allowed only three runners to reach scoring position.
Ricciardone labored, throwing 135 pitches, but exercised control, limiting the Bears to four hits and striking out six. The win put her at 10 on the season and stands second in the Ivy League in both wins and ERA.
—Staff writer Jacob W. Lynch can be reached at email@example.com.