Harvard went 1-3 in two days at the Winthrop Invitational (Photo: Mike Slade).
ROCK HILL, S.C. – In its final day at the Winthrop Adidas Invitational the Harvard softball fell in a pair of games, 9-1 to Western Illinois and 5-4 to host Winthrop, Sunday. The Crimson moves to 3-6 on the season.
The Leathernecks jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead after just one half inning, as a two-out, two-run homerun put the Crimson at a two-run deficit. Katherine Lantz responded in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff single, and the Crimson put two runners on when Andrea Del Conte reached on an error. Kasey Lange stepped up and drove a single through the right side, scoring Lantz to cut the Western Illinois lead to 2-1. Emily Gusse advanced the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, but the pair was stranded to keep the score at 2-1.
Western Illinois added to its lead in the top of the third on a bases-loaded walk, and then smacked a trio of RBI singles in the top of the fifth to break the game open. A two-run blast in the top of the seventh capped the scoring in the game in the 9-1final. Lantz and Lange had the hits in the game for Harvard while Gabrielle Ruiz absorbed the loss in the circle.
It was the Eagles that struck first in the second game of the day, as the hosts brought in a pair of runs on an error by the Crimson in the bottom of the first frame. The Harvard second saw two of the first three batters reach with Stephaie Regan and Jess Ferri poking back-to-back singles in the frame. Adrienne Hume reached first on a fielder's choice and the Crimson picked up its first run when pinch-runner Zoe Galindo came home on a double steal. Katherine Appelbe followed with a single to right center, bringing in Hume and knotting the score at 2-2.
A barrage of hits in the bottom of the third saw the hosts regain its two-run edge. Three straight singles to lead off the inning resulted in the go-ahead run for the Eagles and a wild pitch two batters later pushed the Winthrop lead to 4-2 through three full innings. Harvard had an immediate response, however, and re-tied the game in the next half inning. Galino led off with a single and the Crimson went on to load the bases on an Appelbe walk and Del Conte bunt single. Shelbi Olson put a ball in play in the next at-bat, which resulted in two runs coming in thanks to some shaky fielding from the hosts.
The game stayed tied through the middle of the seventh, but the Eagles would be the ones to come up with the big hit as a one-out solo homerun served as the walk-off in a 5-4 Winthrop victory. Appelbe and Del Conte led the Crimson with a pair of hits each in the game while Morgan Groom took the loss despite allowing just two hits and one earned run in 3.2 innings of work.
Next up, Harvard will take its annual spring break trip when it heads to San Diego, Calif., for the San Diego Classic II, which begins on Friday, March 15. The Crimson opens the classic against Colorado State at 5 p.m. (EST).