Despite the cold, the bats on the Harvard softball team were on fire in the first full weekend of Ivy League play.
The Crimson (16-11, 3-0 Ivy) went undefeated this weekend against Penn (7-14, 2-3) and Columbia (14-14, 4-4), winning three and storming back to tie up a game against the defending conference champion Quakers, which will be completed at a later date.
HARVARD 6, COLUMBIA 2
It was a full rotation effort from the Crimson in the second game of the doubleheader against Columbia. Freshman Taylor Cabe, junior Laura Ricciardone, and sophomore Morgan Groom combined to hold the Lions to two runs for the second straight game.
The Lions jumped out to their only lead of the doubleheader, scoring a run on a single in the top of the first. That lead became two in the top of the fifth, when Columbia’s Liz Caggiano had a sacrifice fly.
But for the second time of the weekend, Harvard was able to come back and overcome the deficit. Junior Katherine Lantz had a bases-clearing double in the fifth to give the Crimson the lead, and the offense continued to rally, scoring five in that frame.
Both Groom and Ricciardone completed two-and-two-thirds innings, with Ricciardone receiving her eight win of the season. The victory was Harvard coach Jenny Allard’s 500th of her career.
HARVARD 7, COLUMBIA 2
Ricciardone pitched a complete game to lead Harvard to victory against the Lions in the first game of the Sunday doubleheader.
The Crimson broke open the game early, scoring three runs in the second inning and four more in the third. Harvard strung together eight of its nine hits in these two innings, including an RBI single and a double from Lantz.
“We had some great offensive practices this week and last week,” Lantz said. “I think we are timing this Ivy League pitching pretty well.”
Ricciardone held the Lions the rest of the way, giving up two unearned runs while striking out seven batters.
HARVARD 8, COLUMBIA 8: SUSP/6
The Crimson stormed back to tie game two against the Quakers on Saturday before the umpires suspended the contest due to darkness. Harvard scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to even up the score.
The Quakers earned an early lead thanks to a third-inning grand slam from Korinne Raby, who blasted the ball over the left-center wall with the bases loaded. The Crimson, however, managed to score three runs in the bottom of the next inning, although the rally was stopped when senior Allison Scott was called out at home plate.
After two straight two-run frames from Penn, the Crimson came up in the bottom of the sixth down five. Two straight outs seemed to put Harvard in a hole, but then the rally began. Three batters later, the bases were loaded. Back-to-back errors by Penn’s shortstop allowed three Crimson runners to score. Then junior Adrienne Hume belted a double to left-center to tie the game, which will be finished at an undetermined time.
“Penn's a great team,” Lantz said. “We wanted a little bit of revenge after the games last year.”
HARVARD 8, PENN 3
The first game of the weekend appeared on paper to be a pitcher’s duel, pitting Ricciardone (2.38 ERA) against Penn’s Alexis Borden (1.99 ERA). But the Crimson bats went off for eight runs on eight hits to lead the team to a convincing win.
Harvard fell behind early on a solo shot from the Quakers’ Leah Allen in the top of the second. The Crimson, however, managed to come back in the bottom half of the inning and strung together hits to score three runs on back-to-back singles.
Penn and Harvard traded runs in the third inning, but the Crimson broke it open in the fifth with four runs on three hits, including an RBI single from junior Katherine Appelbe, who went 3-for-3.
From there, Ricciardone and junior Gabrielle Ruiz combined to hold Penn to just three runs.
“Penn was the defending Ivy League champs, and we were really ready for the games, “Ricciardone said. “We had a chip on our shoulder, and our offense never gave up.”
—Staff writer Jacob W. Lynch can be reached at email@example.com.