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The Harvard softball team welcomed freshman pitcher Nancy Sparrow back from the injured list yesterday with a win against Red-line rival Tufts. Sparrow, returning from a shoulder injury, led the Crimson (5-21 overall, 1-3 Ivy League) to a 9-3 victory over the Jumbos in Somerville.
The rookie hurler pitched four innings of one-run ball in her comeback before being relieved in the fifth by inexhaustible sophomore Julie Fromholz. Sparrow experienced some early inning wildness, walking in two Tufts batters to yield a run, before settling down.
"It was great to have Nancy back," said Fromholz, who gave up two runs on two hits in a rare relief appearance. "She walked a few batters at the start, but that's to be expected. It was her first time throwing since she was injured, and she looked good."
The Crimson offensive attack looked good as well.
Harvard put the game away early, picking up three runs in both the first and third innings. The lead was more than enough for Sparrow, who allowed only one hit and no earned runs.
The Crimson added solo runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to pad the cushion for closer Fromholz, who had started six straight games for an injury-riddled Harvard team.
The Crimson scoring punch was provided by first-year players Katie Fitta and Nancy Johnson, who had two singles and two RBI's each, and catcher Liz Resnick (two-run double).
"Our players are getting a lot of experience," junior Co-Captain Beth Reilly said. "They have confidence in themselves and in us as a team."
The Crimson is much improved since its dismal start to the season. Harvard is 4-5 in its last nine games and has vastly increased its performance at the plate.
"We hit pretty well today," Fromholz said. "The defense played solidly and we finally got some hits."
The addition of Sparrow to the Crimson squad should be a big boost for Harvard, particularly with Ivy League matchups against Yale and Brown next week.
"Nancy is a good pitcher and a good hitter," Reilly said. "Its a great sign that we played well while she was out. Getting her back has got to be a plus for the team. Playing Yale and Brown will be a test of just how far we've come. We're in a much better position now than we were at the start of the year."
Head Coach Barry Haskell agreed that his team was playing its most inspired ball of the season.
"We're playing fairly good ball now," Haskell said. "We've improved the quality of teams that we've played compared with other years. Playing better teams puts us into a good stead going into our last Ivy games against Yale and Brown, who is in first place in the league. We're looking forward to the opportunity to play the spoiler."
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