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The puddles of muddy water that littered Soldiers Field yesterday didn't bother the Harvard softball team. But those other Brown things--the ones that wielded bats and circled bases--gave the Crimson fits the entire afternoon.
The Bruins (8-0 Ivy) clinched the Ivy League title with a twinbill sweep over Harvard, 3-1 and 7-2. Brown's double victory denied second-place Princeton its eighth-straight Ivy crown. The Crimson (6-27 overall, 1-7 Ivy) can seek some solace in the fact that its Ivy standing can only get better next year.
Knowing that Brown had everything to lose, Harvard had early visions of spoiling the only unblemished record in the Ivy League.
"Brown kept its composure," Harvard Captain Beth Reilly said. "Anything we did, they answered. I think we were only a few hits away from surprising them in the first game, though."
A Bev Armstrong double in the bottom of the first inning of play sent Beth McNamara home, giving the Crimson a brief lead, its only of the afternoon. In the top of the second, the Bruins knotted the score at 1-1, then put Harvard away with a two-run fifth inning.
"All of the runs we gave up in the first game were unearned," Reilly said. "We weren't hitting like we had to. Not many games are going to be won on only one run."
Crimson Coach Barry Haskell went to pitcher Julie Fromholz, who had put in a complete first game, a second time in Game Two after a muscle pull forced starter Nancy Sparrow to take an early seat in the second inning.
"I'm sure that seeing the same pitcher over a two-game stretch contributed to Brown's success at the plate," said catcher Nancy Johnson, who went 3-for-5 on the day.
Fromholz returned to the mound after only a 30-minute break and was greeted by every Brown player before closing out the inning. The five-run rally broke the game open, pushing the Bruin advantage to 6-1.
Crimson standout Kristina Carr took to the mound for the first time since spring break, replacing Fromholz in the fifth inning. Carr, who had been limited to pinch-hit performances since sustaining an ankle injury in late April, gave up no runs in the game's three innings.
"Kristina Carr pitched fantastically," Reilly said. "She had been one of our three-person rotation before her injury, and her return gives the team something to look forward to next year."
THE NOTEBOOK: Harvard will play a makeup game with Springfield at Soldiers Field at 3 p.m. today, then will close out the season this weekend with makeup contests against Providence at home Friday (3 p.m.) and at Boston College (3:30 p.m.) Saturday.
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