A season removed from capturing the Ivy League North Division title, Harvard softball got off to a strong start in conference play against divisional opponent Yale in New Haven, Conn. The Crimson (9-9, 2-1 Ivy) took the best-of-three series with a doubleheader sweep on Saturday, outscoring the Bulldogs (3-14, 1-2) by eight runs in those games.
YALE 7, HARVARD 0
Yale redeemed itself in the series finale, giving Harvard its third shutout loss of the spring. Rookie pitcher Miranda Papes tossed all seven innings, striking out five and allowing just four baserunners.
The Bulldogs scored in each of the first five innings, keeping the pressure on the Crimson from the outset of the game. In the third inning, Yale loaded the bases with one out, but Harvard escaped the jam having allowed just one run.
Papes also helped her own cause hitting seventh in the lineup. The freshman pitcher racked up three singles and scored one of the Bulldogs’ seven runs.
Catcher Lindey Kneib was the lone Crimson hitter who had Papes’ number on Sunday. The sophomore collected two hits, including a double to center field in the second inning.
HARVARD 10, YALE 4
Harvard put on an offensive display in the back half of Saturday’s doubleheader. The visitors booted Yale starter Francesca Casalino from the game after 3.1 innings, having scored eight runs—one of which was unearned.
Co-captain Maddy Kaplan was the standout hitter amid a plethora of solid performers at the plate. The senior recorded hits in three of her four at-bats, scoring three runs and driving in four.
Kaplan kicked off the game on a strong note as the game’s second hitter. Junior shortstop Rhianna Rich drew a walk as the game’s leadoff hitter, and Kaplan immediately followed by launching a pitch over the right-field wall to give Harvard a 2-0 lead before the Bulldogs had recorded any outs.
Like Kaplan, Rich also scored three times. Junior third baseman Meagan Lantz and freshman right fielder Alyssa Saldana notched two hits apiece, with one of Lantz’s going for two bases.
Harvard starter Olivia Giaquinto also had a bumpy start, but Harvard’s bullpen curtailed Yale’s offensive efforts for the final five innings of the game. Junior Sarah Smith earned her first win of the season by pitching scoreless innings in the third, fourth, and fifth. Sophomore Alissa Hiener finished off the contest with two shutout frames.
HARVARD 5, YALE 3
Harvard kicked off Ancient Eight divisional play with a 5-3 defeat of Yale. All eight runs were scored in the first three innings of the game, with only five total hits coming in the remaining four innings.
Harvard’s offensive surge occurred in its second trip to the plate. Rich drove in pinch runner Isabelle Haugh with a single to right field, and Kaplan followed up with a gap double to plate senior Alexa Altchek and Rich.
Junior left-hander Katie Duncan occupied the circle all seven innings in the Ivy opener, allowing just one earned run and striking out three. A constant theme throughout Duncan’s starts this season has been stranding baserunners—despite a 1.51 WHIP, the junior has a 2.83 ERA, which is top-five in the conference.
Harvard’s infield turned two double plays in the contest to help clear the basepaths for Duncan. In the bottom of the fourth, the Bulldogs’ Allison Skinner sent a grounder to Lantz, who touched third and threw on to first baseman Olivia Giaquinto to end the inning. Two innings later, Papes grounded to Rich, who flipped to Haugh, who relayed to Giaquinto for the twin killing.
—Staff writer Jack Stockless can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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