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Softball Wins Series Against Brown, 2-1

The Harvard softball team bested league opponent Brown this past weekend.
The Harvard softball team bested league opponent Brown this past weekend. By Dylan J. Goodman
By Elizabeth Crawford, Crimson Staff Writer

This past weekend, the Harvard softball team (12-12, 3-5 EIVA) traveled to Providence, R.I. to play a three-game road series against Brown. The Crimson swept Saturday’s doubleheader, but then lost on Sunday, finishing the weekend 2-1. The successful trip improved the Crimson’s conference record as it attempted to defend its 2023 Ivy League title.

The team had a strong pre-season run before hitting a lull on its Spring Break tour of the West Coast, culminating in three consecutive losses to league and historic rival, Yale. Two weekends ago, however, the Crimson started to recapture its early-season mojo, splitting a series with Dartmouth in its first two games at Soldiers Field. This past weekend’s first series win of the conference season versus Brown may signify a shift in the Crimson’s energy and foreshadow a strong April for the club.

Harvard 3, Brown 0

Game one started slowly, with the Crimson’s first hit of the weekend coming from sophomore infielder Finley Payne in the top of the second inning. The Bears then mounted their biggest threat of the game with three singles off of senior pitcher Anna Reed in the bottom of the second, but Reed escaped the jam without allowing a run, preserving the eventual shutout.

Harvard’s bats mustered just one hit in the third inning, a single coming from junior outfielder Lael Ayala. Then in the first at-bat of the fourth inning, senior infielder Madi Mays blasted a homer to left-center. That would be the Crimson’s only run that inning, and it proved to be the game-winner.

Ayala singled again in the top of the fifth, but was left stranded. In the top of the sixth inning, a home run from freshman shortstop Sophie Sun and the second dinger of the day from Mays increased the Crimson’s lead over the Bears to 3-0. The additional run support proved to be more than Reed would need. She continued her mound domination in the sixth and seventh innings, finishing off the complete game shutout and securing the win for the Crimson.

Harvard 5, Brown 3

The second game of Saturday’s double bill, a back-and-forth affair, showcased batting power from both teams, with the number of hits almost doubling the first game’s total.

The Bears took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, but the Crimson managed to stifle Brown’s rally and leave two runners aboard. In the top of the third inning, Ayala (who had two hits in the first game) stayed hot and doubled to center field. This was followed by a pair of singles from senior outfielder Lauren Bobowski and Sun, which drove Ayala home, evening the score at 1-1.

Brown went up 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Harvard’s powerhouse offense responded in the top of the fifth. The Crimson tied the game 2-2 on a home run from Sun — her second of the day – and then took the lead 3-2 when Payne slugged a round-tripper of her own. Before the inning ended, an RBI from senior catcher Allison O’Heany scored freshman outfielder Audrey Szollosi, increasing the Crimson’s lead to 4-2.

But the Crimson couldn’t relax. The Bears shrunk Harvard’s lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, and then in the top of the seventh, Mays hit her third home run of the day to give the Crimson a two-run cushion that it would not relinquish. Sophomore pitcher Riley Flynn relieved the Crimson’s starter, first-year Nicolette Hunter, in the bottom of the final frame, and she slammed the door on the Bears, securing a save and closing out an impressive second win of the day for Harvard.

Mays was proud of the day, sharing the perk of their Saturday sweep.

“We started strong on Saturday by winning both games, so we were able to win our first non-home conference game and secure our first series win.”

The team will look to continue its winning streak as it heads into more play this weekend.
The team will look to continue its winning streak as it heads into more play this weekend. By Owen A. Berger

Brown 2, Harvard 0

On Sunday afternoon, the Crimson arrived with its heads held high following the previous day’s sweep, but a third consecutive win would prove elusive. It was the Bears who took control early on in this match-up, scoring the only two runs of the game (for either team) off of Harvard’s junior pitcher Reed in the bottom of the first inning.

Reed held Brown in check in the second inning, and then junior pitcher Katie Arrambide took over in the third inning and tossed four scoreless innings, striking out five batters while allowing just two hits and one walk.

But Harvard couldn’t get anything going against Brown pitcher Alexis Guevara. She pitched a gem, giving up just three Crimson singles (by Sun, Bobowski, and junior infielder Kaul) and allowing only one Harvard batter to reach base over the last four innings.

Although the weekend ended with a loss, Mays is hopeful.

“There were many moments to celebrate. We hit six home runs and made essential, diving plays in the field. Our team plays best when we build off each other’s energy and work together. If we can continue to progress each weekend, like we have so far, we’ll be in a competitive position at the end of the season.”

Harvard continues league play this weekend with a three-game-series against Princeton at Soldiers Field. The first game of Saturday’s double-header will start at 12:30pm – and will be streamed on ESPN+ – and the second game is scheduled to begin at 3:00pm. The third game of the series will commence on Sunday at 12:30pm and will also be streamed live on ESPN+ / NESN.

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