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If the scoring had been cumulative for the Harvard softball team's four weekend contests, it might have come out of its season opener on a more upbeat note. Despite outscoring its opponents 9-8, the Crimson finished with a 1-3 showing at the Kay Brechtelsbauer Southern Classic held in Carbondale, Ill.
INDIANA UNIVERSITY 1, HARVARD 0
The debut game in program history between the Crimson and Indiana University (5-8) on Sunday afternoon turned out to be a grueling seven-inning battle with both teams scoreless through six innings.
Co-captain Kara Brotemarkle pitched all seven innings against the Hoosiers, holding onto a shutout after six.
“She pitched an amazing game,” said co-captain second baseman Sara Williamson. “That was exciting to watch so early on.”
Six scoreless innings weren’t enough, however, when Indiana’s Lauren Hines opened the bottom of the seventh with a single to center field.
Pinch runner Megan Roark advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and then scored on a double by Abby Stark, ending the Crimson shutout and a lackluster opening weekend.
INDIANA STATE 3, HARVARD 2
The Crimson found itself on the short end of a tight 3-2 game Sunday morning after beating up on the Sycamores (6-6) the day before.
Junior pitcher Lauren Bettinelli threw the first three innings, allowing two hits and giving up one earned run before sophomore Michelle McAteer took the mound. McAteer was also unable to stop Indiana State, surrendering three hits and two runs.
Harvard’s offensive duo of the weekend, freshman third baseman Virginia Fritsch and junior catcher Annie Dell'Aria—a transfer from Notre Dame—each cranked an RBI double in the effort, driving in Williamson both times.
“It just literally came down to the last inning, and we didn’t get the job done,” Williamson said. “We were up for the game, and we were playing well and doing things we needed to do. But in the end, we didn’t come through with any clutch hits or clutch defensive plays.”
HARVARD 7, INDIANA STATE 2
The high point for the tournament—and for the Crimson offense—was a 7-2 spanking of Indiana State Saturday afternoon. In only her second game in a Harvard uniform, Dell’Aria slugged a three-run homer in the fifth inning to put the Crimson on top.
“[Dell’Aria] really came out strong and set a new tone for herself and the team,” said Brotemarkle. “It’s fresh blood and gets everyone excited.”
Brotemarkle pitched a shutout for six innings—giving up only four hits—and exited the game with a 7-0 cushion. Freshman pitcher Becky Voaklander made her first appearance for the Crimson in the seventh inning, allowing two runs. “It’s really hard the first time you come out in a collegiate start, especially because we were playing good teams,” Brotemarkle said of Voaklander’s debut.
“It gives us a great look into the future of how talented she is and how much she’s going to help the team,” said Williamson.
Fritsch went 2-for-2 with a single and a double, driving in one run. Williamson and junior left fielder Lauren Stefanchik each batted 2-for-3 in the outing.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 2, HARVARD 0
The Crimson opened the weekend and its season with a shutout by host and eventual tournament champion Southern Illinois (9-2). Harvard faced Saluki freshman Cassidy Scoggins, who brought an ERA of 0.00 after two games to the mound. The Crimson managed just three hits off Scoggins, who extended her scoreless streak to 16 innings.
“We were hitting a lot of hits right at people,” Williamson said. “They weren’t jumping in between. Had two or three balls dropped in holes, we would have been in that game far more than 0-2.”
The second inning held all the action, with Harvard’s only real scoring threat coming when Dell’Aria led off with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior shortstop Rachel Goldberg. Freshman Julia Kidder, hitting for center fielder Kerry Flaherty, walked to put runners on first and third for Harvard with two outs. But the runners wouldn’t move as senior Monica Montijo struck out looking, ending the attack.
In the bottom of the inning, Kelly Creek put Southern Illinois up with a solo home run with two outs. Lauren Roney tacked on a security run with an RBI single before getting caught stealing to second on a throw from Dell’Aria behind the plate.
McAteer took the loss, allowing four hits and two runs in the first two innings. Bettinelli came in for the final four innings, striking out as many. She also allowed three walks and three hits.
—Staff writer Carrie H. Petri can be reached at email@example.com.
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