The Harvard softball team swept a doubleheader from Mt. Holycke Saturday, and proved that it has the depth and the spunk to win even without strong pitching.
The batswomen, now 4-0, took their winning show on the road and picked up a pair of victories, 6-2 and 11-5. They did it, however, without the overpowering hurling that has become their early season trademark.
Saturday, Harvard was outhit in the first contest, but rallied in the last three innings to win, and overcame some pitching control problems in the second.
What saved the Crimson was some nifty infield defense and clutch hitting. "The infield defense has been superb," Harvard Coach John Wentzell said. "We've been making all of the average to difficult plays, and we've got the capability to make the great play."
The Cantabs also amassed a total of 17 hits on the afternoon, a figure that "would have been [compiled in] four to five games last year," according to Wentzell.
In the opener, Holyoke jumped to an early 1-0 lead when Crimson hurler Gerri Rubin yielded a walk, an infield grounder, and a single.
The score held until the fifth, when Harvard's Mary Baldauf and Mary Paul reached second and third with two down, and catcher Gia Barresi stepped to the plate. Barresi slammed a single to center, to cash in both of the runners and put the Crimson on top.
"Gia got the big hit that broke things open for us--it broke the spell," Wentzell said. "That was a clutch, clutch hit."
Shortstop Sharon Hayes knocked Barresi in with a single, and Harvard added its final three tallies in the seventh on a base-clearing double by cleanup batter Trisha Brown.
In the nightcap, both sides went to their second starters, Janet Dickerman replaced Rubin, while Laura McLain took over for Josie Collins for Holyoke.
McLain proceeded to walk six in the second inning--including three with the bases loaded--to give Harvard a 4-0 lead without benefit of one base hit.
In the fourth, the top of the order (Hanya Bluestone, Mary Baldauf, and Barresi) came through with singles, and Brown, who had seven RBI on the afternoon, smashed a three run homer to center.
Taking an 11-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Harvard had to post-pone its victory celebration briefly as the hosts posted a lengthy four-run last hurrah.
"It's a credit to them that they hung in there," Wentzell said.
It's a credit to the Crimson, however, that it proved capable of capitalizing on some key hitting, fine fielding and opposition errors, to price together two victories for itself.
"We're out of the gate in great fashion." Wentzell said "We're going to be tested, but I think we're ready for it."
Harvard faces Wheaton today and Boston College tomorrow, travels to Smith on Thursday, and then opens its Ivy season by hosting Penn and Position for weekend doubleheader.