After seeing its 18-game winning streak snapped in a 2-1 loss to Boston University (26-18, 8-4 Patriot League), the Harvard softball team (27-12, 13-0 Ivy) was quick to turn the page. Junior pitcher Laura Ricciardone, who shut out the Terriers in her four innings on the mound, framed the loss in the team’s bigger picture.
“We wanted to use the game as a tune-up game heading into the Dartmouth weekend for our pitchers,” Ricciardone said.
The staff ace was quick to note that she doesn’t anticipate any hangover from the team this weekend in its four-game series against the Big Green, which trails Harvard by just a game in the loss column."
“This won’t affect the team’s play this weekend,” Ricciardone said. “If anything, the team is now more motivated to come out and get the wins against Dartmouth.”
On Thursday, the Terriers held Harvard scoreless for the first six innings of play behind the efforts of Lauren Hynes. Hynes let just three runners reach base on the day, scattering a hit and two walks across six innings of work.
At the plate, the Terriers were able to put two across in the bottom of the fifth inning after freshman Taylor Cabe came in to relieve Ricciardone. Senior Amy Ekart led off the inning with a single for the Terriers, and BU, desperate for offense, subbed in junior Kendra Meadows as a pinch runner. Meadows swiped second and stole third on a double steal two batters later.
When freshman Brittany Youman singled in both runners, the Terriers had its first lead of the contest.
“Today was a bit of a tough day for us,” Harvard junior Emily Gusse said. “We didn’t come out as we should of.”
Down by two runs heading into the final inning, Gusse halved the deficit with a home run down the left-field line for her fourth of the season. That was as close as the Crimson would get, as consecutive groundouts ended the game.
“On the home run, I was trying to get something started and saw a good pitch,” Gusse said. “She served it up for me.”
The junior noted that the team struggled to make adjustments early to Hynes’ pitching. Harvard went three up and three down in both of the first two innings, getting only four base runners in as many innings.
“We got to get things going sooner and make our adjustments a little bit sooner in the game,” Gusse said.
With more important games on the horizon—the pair of weekend doubleheaders with the Big Green could decide the Ivy North Division—Gusse said that the team can learn a lot from the loss.
“It’s a good team mindset to get a little bit humbled,” Gusse said. “We were on a nice win streak but now that’s out of the window and we can take this game for what it is and use it to take us to the Ivy League Championship.”
—Staff writer David Freed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.