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Softball Drops Close Game to Boston College

With two outs and two on base in the top of the first inning, sophomore infielder Giana Panariello stepped up to the plate and belted one into deep right field. 3-0, Harvard. While the blast seemed like the start of a sweet night, it would turn sour five innings later as the Crimson's early lead turned into a devastating defeat.

“[Senior infielder Katherine] Lantz had an amazing at bat, she went deep in the count, battled her way on base,” Harvard coach Jenny Allard said. “[Senior infielder Emily] Gusse came up with a big hit and then Giana came up with a huge home run for us to put us in the lead.”

Despite the early offense, the Crimson softball team (17-18, 8-4 Ivy) struggled to capitalize throughout the rest of its game at Boston College (17-18, 1-11 ACC). After going up by as much as four, the team simply couldn’t close out the matchup, conceding five runs en route to a 5-4 loss to the Eagles.

“We came out strong. I think we really bounced back from a tough game on Tuesday,” Allard said. “We showed up to play hard. We just gave them too many opportunities and didn’t get them down the stretch.”

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The Crimson offense, which leads the Ivy League in both runs and comes in second in hits, continued hitting strong. Harvard outhit the Eagles nine to seven, but in the end couldn’t come out the with win as the Crimson went on to allow three runs in the bottom of the sixth to give up the lead and ultimately the game.

The early offensive success encountered by Harvard drove BC to go to the bull pen early. After giving up three runs, rookie pitcher Allyson Frei was pulled in favor of freshman right hander Jessica Dreswick, who allowed one run over her 4.2 innings of work and earned the win.

“The second pitcher was more of a drop ball pitcher,” Lantz said. “Her ball was just tailing down and I wouldn’t say that was a pitch that we’ve been seeing a lot and I would say that drop ball was really effective for that pitcher.”

The offensive output came early and from the top of the lineup—each of the Crimson’s first three hitters contributed two hits in the contest. The three are all batting above .300 with the lineup as a whole batting .277.

Starting sophomore Taylor Cabe on the mound, Harvard allowed four hits over the first five innings before allowing three in the sixth and letting three score. Cabe would only pitch through the first two innings before being rotated out for junior Morgan Groom and senior Gabrielle Ruiz.

After walking only two over seven innings, Boston College capitalized off Crimson errors, with a fielding error in the third setting up a two run Eagles home run and later conceding three runs after a walk and a steal in the bottom of the sixth.

“We went into a bit off a lull where BC pushed up the offense to take the lead,” Lantz said. “I think we lost that sense of urgency that we had in the first couple innings.”

Although Harvard went deep early, Boston College wouldn’t relent, returning the favor with a two run blast from junior Megan Cooley to put the Eagles within striking distance.

Despite the strong offense, the Crimson couldn’t seem to capitalize off of the hits. Harvard left four stranded, while the Eagles left only two players on the base paths when all was said and done.

Closing out the inning proved to be an issue as well for the Crimson. For a pitching squad with the third lowest ERA in the Ivy League (3.38), the bullpen struggled to close out innings against the home team. Two of the Eagles’ runs came with two outs and all of their runs came with at least one out on the board.

The floodgates opened up in the sixth inning. After walking the first batter of the inning, the Eagles came up with a pair of singles, a bunt, and a sac fly to score three before Harvard could close out the inning.

The Crimson mustered only a single hit in the seventh inning before Boston College was able to retire the side, ending the game and any hope of a last inning comeback.

“That late in the game you can’t walk the first batter,” Allard said. “You can’t walk the leadoff batter. We did that twice in the game. It didn’t hurt us the first time, the second time it hurts."

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