In the early part of the season, the Harvard Crimson softball team has racked up their fair share of frequent-flier miles. The first 25 games of the season have seen the Crimson play up and down the East Coast — from Rhode Island to Florida — but it was about time for a game in front of a friendly crowd as Harvard opened its home schedule with a six-game series culminating in a 4-2 record — the result of two wins over the Rhode Island Rams and two split doubleheaders against Cornell and Princeton.
The Crimson were dominant in their home opener against Rhode Island, scoring six runs in a 6-0 shutout. Harvard’s pitching ace this season, freshman Rachel Brown, struck out nine batters in four innings of work, allowing just two hits.
In the second leg of the doubleheader, Rhode Island opened the game with an unearned first-inning run, but the Crimson responded with five runs in the first three innings of the game. Sophomore Ellen Macadam finished the day with three hits, a run, and an RBI. Five Harvard players had a multi-hit game, combining for the Crimson’s lucky 13 hits in the 10-3 win.
The Crimson returned to Soldiers Field on Saturday (April 4), and, after being shut out by Cornell in game one of the doubleheader, 0-3, Harvard’s bats woke up in game two, with the Crimson scoring six runs on nine hits in a 6-5 Harvard victory. The loss was Cornell’s (26-1; 5-1 Ivy League) first Ivy loss of the season.
On Sunday (April 5) the Harvard offense once again struggled to find life in the first game but rebounded in the second. Despite an impressive complete game, 10-strikeout performance by Brown, who allowed just one run and two hits, Princeton’s freshman hurler Michelle Tolfa bested Harvard’s rising star, allowing just one hit in a 1-0 shutout of the Crimson.
The second game saw freshman infielder Whitney Shaw, who was named Ivy Rookie of the Week on Tuesday (April 7) and leads the team in batting average (.339), home runs (4), and runs batted in (18), pump life into the Crimson with two two-run home runs to power Harvard to a 5-2 victory. The Crimson finished the game with nine hits. Junior Dana Roberts pitched 4.1 scoreless innings before Brown came in to close out the game.
The Crimson will face Boston University on the road Thursday (April 9), before tackling division rival Yale on Saturday (April 11) and Sunday (April 12) for a pair of doubleheaders. Harvard — whose 19-9 record is good for second best in the Ivy League — is currently just a game behind Dartmouth for the Ivy North Division lead, with a 5-3 league record, and has won 12 out of 16 since March 22.