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The Harvard softball team split a Sunday showdown against Drexel that was marked by the Crimson’s schizophrenia at the plate and dominance on the mound.
In the first game, quiet Harvard (1-5) bats mustered only three hits against sophomore Elizabeth Fuller. A seventh-inning home run by Jonnae McClain gave the Dragons (2-7) the 1-0 win.
The Crimson rallied back in a big way, winning the second game 15-0. Harvard scored in each of the first three innings before exploding for an eight-run seventh.
“We were ready going in, and went down there looking to play,” junior tri-captain Louisa Canham said. “There was some question about the field conditions, but it was great weather.”
Not as great as the pitching, though.
Junior tri-captain Kara Brotemarkle took the tough loss in the first game despite pitching a four-hit gem. Sophomore Lauren Bettinelli combined with two other pitchers for a one-hitter in the second game.
Harvard 15, Drexel 0
With Bettinelli holding the Dragons in check on the mound, the Crimson found its stride at the plate against Fuller.
Junior Sara Williamson and junior Rachel Goldberg led the way for Harvard, knocking in three runs each. Goldberg smacked two home runs in the game, and ended the Dragons’ long day with a sharp defensive stop at shortstop to record the last out.
“We got together in between games and talked it out,” Williamson said. “We felt we let our pitching down a bit in the first game. Being more aggressive at the plate worked out in the second game.”
In the last frame, the Crimson scored eight runs off of eight hits. Hot-hitting sophomore Beth Sabin continued to play well, plating four runs and homering.
After Bettinelli was pulled, freshman hurler Michele McAteer came in and preserved the shutout. In her two innings of work, she struck out five Dragons.
“You always want to perform for your pitchers at the level that they’re performing for you,” Goldberg said.
Drexel 1, Harvard 0
The Crimson’s first game was as different from its second-game explosion as possible. Harvard managed only one hit against the Dragons.
“[Fuller] moved the ball really well, and she had a great change up,” Williamson said. “We didn’t make the right adjustments until we went into the second game.”
The contest was a pitcher’s duel for seven innings, as Brotemarkle and Fuller threw one shutout inning after another. McClain changed that, and the Crimson’s hopes of winning, with one swing of the bat.
“[Kara] pitched her heart out today,” Canham said. “We felt like the game didn’t have to come down to one pitch. We were disappointed that we let it get to that situation.”
Harvard next heads south over the break to compete in the Buzz Classic hosted by Georgia Tech. Two years ago, the Crimson surprised many by beating nationally-ranked competition and finishing second at the 25-team tournament.
—Staff writer Robert A. Cacace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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