Jane Alexander took home Ivy League Player of the Week honors March 20 (Harvard Athletic Communications).
The Harvard softball team welcomes Bryant to Cambridge for a single game Tuesday at 4 p.m. The matchup will be the Crimson's home opener as its scheduled debut at Soldiers Field with Quinnipiac March 22 was cancelled.
The Crimson (12-6) has been led by strong pitching this season, as ace Rachel Brown enters Tuesday's game with a 7-2 record and 0.83 ERA. The reigning Ivy League Pitcher of the Year has struck out 88 batters in 67 2/3 innings of work, while walking 13 opponents. Brown's senior classmate Jane Alexander leads Harvard's offense with a .386 batting average. Alexander has accumulated a team-best 22 hits, including five doubles and a triple. Sophomore Kasey Lange has provided a powerful bat in Crimson's lineup, as she has blasted all three of the team's home runs. Lange also leads Harvard with 13 RBI.
Last Time Out
Harvard split four games against Lehigh last weekend in Bethlehem, Pa. The squads split a pair of games both days with Harvard taking the last contest, 1-0, in nine innings. Laura Ricciardone scattered eight hits in nine innings of work while striking out two and holding the Mountain Hawks scoreless. Shelbi Olson plated the Crimson's lone run of the game. Olson doubled down the leftfield line to lead off the ninth inning and was brought around to score by a Whitney Shaw sacrifice bunt and Emily Gusse RBI groundout.
Spring Break Trip
The Crimson compiled an impressive 8-1 record during its seven-day trip to California during spring break. Harvard's signature win of the trip came against Oregon State (21-8), which is receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches' poll. The Beavers tied the game against Harvard at 2-2 with a two-run homer in the sixth, but the Crimson was able push across a run in the bottom of the seventh to secure the victory.
For the third time in three weeks this season, Rachel Brown was named the Ivy League Pitcher of the Week March 20. It was the first time a Harvard player won three straight awards since Shelly Madick '08 accomplished the feat at the end of the 2007 season. Jane Alexander received Player of the Week accolades after the Crimson won eight of nine games on its Spring Break trip.
The Bulldogs enter Tuesday's game with a 5-14 record and will play their first road game in the Northeast against the Crimson. Bryant split with Yale in its last game action, pounding Yale 12-0 in Game 1 and falling, 9-8 in eight innings, in Game 2. Shortstop Aubrey Mable leads Bryant with a .451 batting average and has team-high totals of 15 runs, 23 hits, three home runs and 16 RBI. Jennifer Jacob and Brittany Hart have split time in the circle for Bryant, with Jacob holding the team lead in strikeouts with 23 in 62.0 innings pitched.
Harvard leads the all-time series against Bryant, 4-3. The Crimson has won two of the last three in the series, but the Bulldogs took a 6-3 decision over Harvard last season.
Harvard is back in action this weekend when it kicks off Ivy play with a doubleheader at Cornell Friday and at Princeton Saturday. Friday's action is set to begin at 2 p.m.