Kasey Lange was one of nine Harvard players with a hit Wednesday (Gil Talbot).
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Harvard softball team did not get derailed despite a big first inning from Loyola Marymount, but a late comeback attempt fell just short as the Crimson fell, 8-7, Wednesday in a midweek showdown. Harvard's record dips to 5-10 on the season while Loyola Marymount improves to 17-14 on the year.
The Crimson moved a runner to third in the top of the first, but the Lions were able to wriggle out of the inning unscathed. Another tough first inning ensued for Harvard, as a leadoff double turned into a four-hit, five-run inning for the hosts, jolting the Lions out to a 5-0 lead and forcing Harvard to change pitchers. Emily Gusse had a quick response for the Lions' offensive outburst, launching a solo homer to begin the second inning, putting Harvard on the scoreboard.
Andrea Del Conte led off the Harvard third with a walk and successfully stole second to move into scoring position. Captain Shelbi Olson shot a single up the middle and Del Conte was able to score on a misplay by the LMU centerfielder. A walk and an error ensued, allowing Harvard to load the bases, and Olson came home with the Crimson's third run of the day on a wild pitch. The Lions were able to pick up a strikeout to end the Crimson threat and retain their two-run advantage.
Jamie Halula, who entered in relief in the bottom of the first, worked methodically through the LMU lineup through the fourth inning, and watched her offense complete the comeback in the top of the fifth. Kasey Lange drew a one-out walk and Haley Davis ripped a double to right-center, putting two runners in scoring position. A groundout to third by Gusse wasn't deep enough to bring a run home, but with two outs, Adrienne Hume punched a ball through the middle that saw Lange and Davis score to tie the game at 5-5. The long ball proved costly for Harvard in the bottom half of the inning, however, as a solo shot and a two-run bomb stretched the Lions' lead back out to three at 8-5 after five full innings.
Zoe Galindo led off the sixth with a double and Katherine Lantz quickly brought her home with a single up the middle. Two batters later, Lange roped a double to center that allowed Lantz to score, bring the Crimson within one, heading into the final frame. Harvard was unable to re-tie the score, however, as a trio of groundouts ended the game in the 8-7 final.
Nine different Harvard players recorded hits on the day with Lange, Davis and Galindo all recording doubles and Hume leading all batters with two RBI. Halula was tagged with the loss despite a solid four innings of work, and freshman Morgan Groom pitched 1.1 innings of perfect relief.
Up next, Harvard returns to the East to take on Syracuse in a pair of games March 23-24.