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Softball Extends Win Streak With Wins Against Cornell, Princeton

Senior pitcher Laura Ricciardone joined with sophomore Taylor Cabe to dominate Princeton in a doubleheader Saturday to help extend their Ivy win streak to eight games.
Senior pitcher Laura Ricciardone joined with sophomore Taylor Cabe to dominate Princeton in a doubleheader Saturday to help extend their Ivy win streak to eight games. By Jeff L. Cott
By Michael P. Dybala, Contributing Writer

This weekend, the Harvard softball team (14-15, 5-3 Ivy) extended its winning streak to six games at home against Ancient Eight rivals Cornell (8-15, 2-6) and Princeton (10-17, 2-4). The weekend saw strong performances from both the Crimson’s pitchers and its defense, as Harvard gave up only five runs in four games.

“I think they’re really starting to hit their stride,” Harvard coach Jenny Allard said. “The key to it is great pitching, great hitting, and timely defense, and we got that [this weekend].”

HARVARD 6, PRINCETON 1

The tail end of Saturday’s double-header saw the Crimson’s bats come alive early and often, tallying all the team’s runs in the first four innings.

Freshman center fielder Maddy Kaplan wasted no time lighting up the scoreboard, ripping a two-run home run over the right field wall in the bottom of the first following a single from senior left fielder Andrea Del Conte

Later in the first, senior shortstop Emily Gusse added another run when she drilled a single to right field, driving in senior right fielder Katherine Lantz.

The Tigers offense was stymied by the Crimson’s pitching and defense, led by sophomore pitcher Taylor Cabe, who carried a no-hit effort into the top of the fifth inning while striking out six batters and earning her third win of the season. Del Conte sparked the Harvard defense by robbing Princeton’s Skye Jerpbak of an extra-base hit on a diving catch in left-center field.

HARVARD 2, PRINCETON 1

Junior right fielder Haley Davis stepped up to the plate with one runner on second base, two outs, and the scored tied, 1-1, in the bottom of the seventh inning. Davis took the pitch on a one-and-one count and ripped a line drive to left field. Del Conte scored from second to seal the walk-off win for the Crimson.

After a throwing error and passed ball from Harvard in the top of the first inning, the Tigers capitalized on the Crimson’s defensive mistakes to take a 1-0 lead on a groundout from Princeton’s Alyssa Schmidt.
Harvard responded in the third inning as Lantz earned her 17th RBI of the season in just 22 games, driving in junior center fielder Zoe Galindo.

Senior pitcher Laura Ricciardone struck out five and gave up no earned runs in the complete game effort.

“We bounced back [from previous Ivy League losses] and hit our stride here today,” Ricciardone said. “Our defense was stellar today, and we were making plays by taking away Princeton’s hits.”

HARVARD 5, CORNELL 3

Three pitchers split the effort evenly, each going two and one third innings in Friday’s second half of a home double-header versus visiting Ivy League opponent Cornell.

It was Ricciardone, though, who earned the win for the Crimson after coming on to replace Cabe in the fifth inning. Additionally, in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Slidel, La., native belted her first home run of the season in just her 10th at bat this year.

The Big Red scored first, notching two runs in the third inning off of Cornell pitcher Meg Parker’s two-run blast. Harvard responded in the same inning with three runs of its own, including two off a bases-loaded single from Lantz.

The Crimson broke a short-lived 3-3 tie in the fifth inning when Del Conte scored on a Big Red fielding error.

HARVARD 7, CORNELL 0

The Crimson showed its offensive abilities from the get-go as Lantz took Big Red pitcher Maddie Orcutt deep in the first inning for a two-run home run. Following a three-run first inning, Harvard followed with three more in the second off of RBIs from Del Conte, Gusse, and Davis.

Ricciardone picked up the victory after a complete game showing, striking out two batters and walking just one.

“We had a very focused approach, and we were relaxed at the plate,” Allard said. “We swung our bats like we know how to swing and trusted that we were going to get good pitching performances and make plays.”

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