One week after rattling off eight runs in the first three innings of its penultimate nonconference game, the Harvard softball team was at it again in Providence on Wednesday as it wrapped up out-of-league play.
Up against the Friars at Glay Stadium, the Crimson (21-14, 9-3 Ivy) scored seven times in the opening three frames, paving the way for a 8-2 Harvard win—its 10th in the last 11 games.
“We jumped on them right away,” co-captain Zoe Galindo said. “All parts of our game worked really well…. The hitters came out full swing, and we made some really good defensive plays that shut the door pretty early. We played like Harvard softball should, so it was really fun.”
Harvard came out swinging right off the bat, scoring three runs in the top of the first. Freshman Rhianna Rich, who went 3-for-4 on the day, led off with a single to the left side of the infield, and Galindo followed suit with a single of her own. Then after a walk to freshman Meagan Lantz filled the bases, junior Giana Panariello singled up the middle, sending Rich home and record the first RBI of the game.
Providence (16-23, 2-9 Big East) nearly escaped the inning without enduring any further damage after turning a double play that took out Galindo and junior Catherine Callaway. But with Lantz and Panariello having advanced into scoring position, senior Haley Davis plated them both with a single to center.
Providence answered back with a run of its own in the bottom of the first, but Harvard quickly widened the gap once again with two more tallies in the second and another two in the third.
The second inning saw three Crimson doubles by freshmen Kaitlyn Schiffhauer, Rich, and Lantz. Rich’s double drove Schiffhauer home while, two batters late, Lantz’s hit sent Rich across the plate.
With the score 5-1, Davis singled to start of the third and junior Savannah Bradley ripped a double to left field to drive home the sixth run for Harvard. Bradley would later capitalize on a wild pitch to take home and score the second run of the inning.
The Friars responded by notching another run in the bottom of the third, as Kiki Baldassari stole home to log her second run of the game, but they still faced a 7-2 deficit and were unable to break through for the rest of the game.
The final run of the game came in the top of the sixth when Lantz recorded her second double of the game to drive Rich home and further secure the Crimson advantage. Lantz leads Harvard with 33 runs batted in on the year—12 ahead of sophomore Maddy Kaplan, who ranks second on the team.
“There [weren’t] any big plays throughout the game,” junior Jillian Leslie admitted. “We just had a lot of hits stored in us that we just let out today. It was a nice day to play ball and a nice stadium. Everyone contributed—our defense, our offense, and our pitchers. It was all around a really good effort.”
Harvard pounded away at the Friars throughout the game, tallying up a total of 14 hits across the seven innings.
Meanwhile, junior Taylor Cabe and freshman Sarah Smith combined to hold Providence in check on the hill. Cabe’s performance over the first three innings earned her her 12th win of the year, while Smith relieved Cabe and threw four hitless innings. Both pitchers recorded two strikeouts.
“Our pitchers did really well,” Galindo said. “Taylor came out with a good start, and Sarah threw really really well in the latter half of the game.”
The Crimson’s impressive offensive performance follows a meeting with Yale last weekend where Harvard tallied six runs in the first inning alone.
“I don’t think, as a senior, in my four years that we’ve had a team that scored so often in the first inning as often as this team has,” Leslie said. “We’re just coming out in the mindset to swing the bat hard, not thinking too much about things. Once things start going, people are getting on, people are seeing the ball, everyone relaxes.”
“And when we relax,” she added, “we play our best.”
—Staff writer Ginny Miller can be reached at email@example.com.
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