The Harvard softball team split two double-headers against Princeton and Cornell this weekend, demonstrating offensive power despite inconsistency.
In both losses—the first games against Princeton and Cornell, respectively—the Crimson struggled to string together hits and left runners on base in do-or-die situations. Against the Tigers, Harvard loaded the bases in the sixth and the seventh but could not bring a runner home.
Harvard saw an improvement in the second game, when junior third baseman Kasey Lange came up big with a bases-clearing double in the Crimson’s six-run fourth inning.
Despite having eight players hitting close to or above .300, Harvard is still looking to limit runners left in scoring position.
“We are doing 80 percent of the work getting runners on base,” Crimson coach Jenny Allard said. “We just need to bring them home.”
In its wins this weekend, Harvard was able to contain its mistakes on the defensive side, unlike previous games this season, in which leadoff hits or walks would quickly become a rally for the other team.
Although the Crimson pitchers gave up 16 walks on the weekend, they were able to overcome the mistakes and get the stops they needed.
Sophomore shortstop Emily Gusse was a defensive standout, making a cross-body throw on a slow chopper up the middle to end the top of the seventh and give the Crimson a shot at the comeback in the bottom of the inning.
In right field, captain Shelbi Olson also worked to limit her opponents, using her arm to hold runners on and rob the Tigers and the Big Red of RBI opportunities on fly balls.
YOUNG IN THE CIRCLE
In both matchups, Harvard looked towards its young pitchers. Freshman Jamie Halula started in both wins and pitched five innings before the games were called due to the mercy rule.
Freshman Morgan Groom and sophomore Gabrielle Ruiz split the rest of the work, and the duo combined to allow 19 runs in both games. Groom started both games and pitched the bulk of the work, going six innings on Friday and 5.2 innings on Saturday.
Since losing its top two pitchers from last season, Harvard has focused on developing its young throwers, and all three have seen remarkable improvement in their control.
Senior utility player Jessica Ferri had not pitched since freshman year and was slated to pitch this season, but she has only pitched 1.1 innings this season.