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Softball Goes 1-3 in First Two Conference Doubleheaders

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In a tough start to their conference play, Harvard dropped three of its four matchups by a margin of one point. A year removed from one of its best finishes in conference, the Crimson struggled on the road.

Harvard softball traveled to Philadelphia and New York to kick off its 2017 Ivy League slate against conference foes Penn and Columbia. A year removed from finishing as the runner-up in the Ancient Eight, the Crimson faltered in its first two conference doubleheaders.

Led by clutch hitting from sophomore catcher Elizabeth Shively and dominant pitching by sophomore southpaw Katie Duncan, Harvard (9-12, 1-3 Ivy) split two contests on Saturday with the Quakers (11-10, 2-2).

On Sunday, the Crimson dropped two games to the Lions (11-13, 4-0). Harvard’s bats could not mount an attack in the opening contest, and a seventh-inning Columbia rally sunk the Crimson in the final game of the weekend.

“I think this weekend was disappointing when we look at the end results,” sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Schiffhauer said. “We all know that we are more capable than what we showed these past four games. We have to keep the pressure on all seven innings in every single game we play.”

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COLUMBIA 6, HARVARD 5

Untimely errors were Harvard’s downfall in the final game of the weekend’s four-game set. The Crimson committed four miscues, including two in the final frame, to allow the Lions to eke out a victory.

Heading into the bottom of the seventh, Harvard commanded a 5-2 advantage. After allowing baserunners to reach via an error and a walk, senior righthander Taylor Cabe was lifted in favor of sophomore Sarah Smith.

Attempting to lock down her third save of the season, Smith gave up a single through the right side, conceded a five-pitch walk, and then recorded a groundout to cut the Crimson lead to 5-4 with two outs and runners on second and third.

After taking a called strike, junior shortstop Madison Gott laced a single into right field. A miscue by junior Maddy Kaplan led freshman outfielder Amber Swinarski to race across home, delivering Columbia a walk-off win.

Errors plagued Harvard from the outset of the game. In the bottom of the first, Swinarski reached on an error by first baseman Jillian Leslie, and she crossed the plate as freshman outfielder Sommer Grzybek reached base on the Crimson’s second error of the inning.

Despite conceding four runs, two of which were earned, Cabe surrendered just two hits on the day.

Sophomore shortstop Rhianna Rich went three-for-four with a run scored, an RBI, and a stolen base.

COLUMBIA 3, HARVARD 1

After scraping for a 2-1 victory over Penn in the second half of Saturday’s doubleheader, Harvard’s bats continued to go silent in the team’s first matchup against the Lions.

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