A game in Worcester against Holy Cross on March 29—postponed due to weather and field conditions. An April 3 tilt across the river against Boston University—again canned due to poor playing conditions. And the same happened for mid-April games at Providence and at home against Bryant.
After a brutal New England spring produced four consecutive weeks of canceled midweek games, the Harvard softball team finally played its first non-conference contest since the end of tournament play. In its last game before heading to Brown to close out the regular season, the Crimson (20-14, 13-5 Ivy) lost, 3-1, against Boston College (26-18, 11-6 ACC) at the new Harrington Athletics Village in Brighton.
“That’s the type of team we will face if we make regionals, so I think it allowed us to see that we can compete with those teams and gave us even more motivation going into Brown this weekend,” junior shortstop Rhianna Rich said.
A 1-1 stalemate lasted from the end of the first through the top of the sixth, but the Eagles finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth. Designated player Allyson Moore drew a walk to lead off the inning. Consecutive sacrifice bunt attempts—along with an error on center fielder Lexi DiEmmanuele’s bunt—brought Moore all the way around to break the tie.
“I think this game’s errors, for both sides, helped the other team offensively,” Rich said. “But errors are part of the game and it’s about limiting them and pushing past them when they do occur.”
DiEmmanuele continued to push the envelope. With one out, she stole third to set up a sacrifice fly to right field by shortstop Chloe Sharabba. Boston College appeared poised to add even more runs to its newfound 3-1 lead, as left fielder Annie Murphy doubled and fellow corner outfielder CC Cook was hit by a pitch. However, Harvard left-hander Katie Duncan shut down the threat by getting catcher Emme Martinez to chase strike three.
Suddenly, the Crimson had to manufacture a comeback attempt in the top of the seventh. Harvard got off to a promising start, as two of the first three batters of the inning reached base. That was all Harvard would muster, though. Eagles pitcher Jessica Dreswick struck out Meagan Lantz and induced a flyout to right to close out the ballgame.
Dreswick was impressive for all seven innings. The senior right-hander allowed just one run, five hits, and two walks, and she struck out five Crimson.
“[Dreswick] was definitely a challenge because she throws harder than what we’re used to seeing and she hit her spots well,” junior shortstop Rhianna Rich said.
“[She] did a good job of keeping the ball off the plate,” junior catcher Elizabeth Shively added. “She attacked the corners and threw a screwball in to righties that was effective.”
Dreswick and BC’s defense effectively shut down Harvard after the first inning. The visitors kicked off the game by scoring a run in the first inning, but the Crimson recorded just two hits and two walks the rest of the way. Harvard did not advance a runner past second base in the final six frames.
In its first trip to the plate, the Crimson got things started with a Rhianna Rich infield single. Junior second baseman Meagan Lantz followed with Harvard’s only extra base hit of the game, doubling to center field. On a fielding error by DiEmmanuele, Rich scored and Lantz moved up to third. However, the Crimson was unable to add to its early lead as Lantz was cut down trying to score on a grounder to second base.
Of Harvard’s five hits, three came courtesy of Rich. The junior is now hitting .442/.496/.658 in 2018.
Sophomore Olivia Giaquinto got the start in the circle, and she gave up just one run in four innings. The right-hander worked out of tight spots in the first three frames before setting down the Eagles in order with three groundouts in the fourth.
“It wasn’t in our game plan to try and completely shut them down offensively,” Giaquinto said. “We knew they were going to put the ball in play and get on, so defensively we just focused on our process to get outs. My defense made plays behind me and we were able to shut them down that way.”
—Staff writer Jack Stockless can be reached at jack.stockless@the crimson.com.
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