This weekend, the Harvard softball team travelled to Ivy League rival Yale for a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday. The Crimson (27-11, 13-0 Ivy) employed solid pitching and an explosive offensive attack in order to sweep Yale (5-32, 1-15) with four convincing wins, maintaining its unblemished record in conference play.
The Crimson had been riding a program record 14-game win streak and had just swept Princeton in two games on Thursday. Coming into the weekend, both Harvard and Dartmouth were the sole undefeated teams in the Ancient Eight. However, after this weekend's sweep of the Bulldogs and Brown upsetting the Big Green, it's the Crimson in the driver's seat going into the final week of regular season play.
HARVARD 7, YALE 5
In the fourth contest of the weekend, it looked as though the Crimson’s sweep might have been in jeopardy when a three-run homer blasted by Yale’s Hannah Brennan in the third inning put the score at a lopsided 4-1.
However, the Crimson found the answer it needed when a three-run shot from junior shortstop Emily Gusse kicked off a six-run fourth inning for Harvard.
“Yale had just taken the lead...so when [junior pitcher] Laura [Riccardione] and [senior catcher] Allie [Scott] got on base before me, I knew we had to capitalize and get ourselves back in the game,” Gusse said. “My mindset was to just swing at a good pitch and hit it hard.”
Ricciardone would hold Yale scoreless in the final three innings to earn her fourth win of the weekend, sealing a 7-5 victory for the Crimson.
HARVARD 11, YALE 3
In game three of the series, the Crimson’s bats came alive to put up double-digits on the board.
The first three innings of the game went by without a run for either team.
However, in the fourth, Scott scored on a throwing error from Yale’s right fielder, and the runs kept coming after that.
In the fifth frame, Harvard plated five more runs courtesy of four base hits and two Yale errors.
The Crimson struck hard again in the seventh when captain and right fielder Shelbi Olson roped a triple with the bases loaded for three RBIs. Olson was then hit home by freshman pinch hitter Lindsey Hagberg to increase the score to 11.
“Once we started to just relax up at bat, really wait for our pitch...we started to really produce those big hits to the fence,” Scott said. “So that was the key, just being patient and being confident at the plate.”
A late offensive rally by Yale would prove to be too little, too late, and the Crimson notched the win, 11-3.