Freshman Haley Davis’ first college home run was a walk-off grand slam that put the game away for Harvard softball (11-17, 4-4 Ivy) in the second game of the team’s doubleheader against Cornell (14-16, 4-4 Ivy) on Saturday.
The 11-2 win, decided in the bottom of the fifth by the run-rule, was especially important given that Harvard had narrowly lost the first game, 10-7.
HARVARD 11, CORNELL 2
As Davis walked up to the plate in the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded, loud cheers and chants followed the freshman from her teammates and crowd behind her. The sound, already loud, grew deafening after Davis crushed a pitch out to centerfield that eventually made its way out of the park.
The hit salvaged a doubleheader that would have otherwise put the Crimson under .500 in Ivy League play.
“It was a really cool experience,” Davis said. “We had a lot of injuries this week and I came in here as a substitute. To help our team win like that and help them [get to .500] is pretty awesome. It’s the first home run of my college career, and it’s pretty cool to have it be a walk-off grand slam.”
The four runs put the Crimson ahead, 11-2, with seven runs coming in the final fifth inning alone, and ended the contest by the eight-run rule.
The key to Harvard’s second win was limiting the Big Red’s offense to two runs after giving up 10 runs off 11 hits in the first contest. In the second contest, Cornell was able to get eight hits but only converted two of those into scores.
“We didn’t pitch well in game one,” Crimson coach Jenny Allard said. “When pitchers have tough games, that’s hard. I think [freshman pitcher Jamie Halula] got herself in a position after watching the whole first game, knew their hitters, and knew how to command her pitches and did a good job of limiting them to two runs. We just had a hard time in game one shutting their offense down.”
Halula’s peroformance came after freshman Morgan Groom and sophomore Gabrielle Ruiz surrendered 10 runs in the first game. Halula limited the offense to eight hits, striking out three hitters and only giving up one walk.
“I think we were just able to keep the hits to just a few per inning, rather than all of them in one inning,” Halula said. “We were able to cut down on walks too. You could definitely feel that we believed in ourselves more in the second game, and you could feel that there was more energy from the team.”
On offense, a senior hitting corps that was able to tally runs and limit the number of players stranded on base helmed the 11-run effort. Junior Kasey Lange tied Davis’ four RBIs, scored three runs herself, and drew two intentional walks, while senior Stephanie Regan went 4-for-8 with four runs and three RBIs.
CORNELL 10, HARVARD 7
The team came out strong offensively in both contests, but Harvard was unable to limit Big Red runs in the first game and as a result came out with a loss.
“We scored seven runs in the first game, that should be enough to win,” Allard said. “All we need is pitchers who can keep us in and they couldn’t do that in the first game.”