Morgan Groom earned her fifth win of the season Saturday against Yale (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard softball team took a solid step towards the Ivy League North Division title, taking down Yale in a pair of games, 7-4 and 4-2, Saturday at Soldiers Field. The Crimson (14-17, 6-4 Ivy) stretches its current winning streak to four games while Yale (8-24, 3-7 Ivy) absorbed its third straight loss.
A small-ball approach got Harvard on the board in Game 1 when it grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. The Crimson got two runners on to start the inning when Katherine Lantz walked and Emily Gusse singled. Adrienne Hume laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, and an RBI fielder's choice from Katherine Appelbe brought in Lantz, who slid under the tag at a play at the plate.
Shelbi Olson started the third with a single and Kasey Lange followed with a double over the centerfielder's head. Cleanup hitter Haley Davis was next up and the freshman pumped a double to the right-centerfield gap, driving in a pair and giving Harvard a 3-0 lead. A Yale error two batters later allowed Davis to come home with Harvard's fourth run of the day.
Freshman Jamie Halula was in cruise control through the first four innings for the hosts, allowing just one hit and no runs during that span. The Bulldogs would not stay quiet the whole game however, and came on strong in the fifth to knot the score at 4-4. Singles by Brittany Labbadia and Christy Nelson and a pair of Harvard errors led to the four-run fifth for the guests, forcing the Harvard offense to up its output. The hosts answered the call in the bottom of the sixth, smacking three hits and tacking on three more runs. A leadoff single and ensuing steal by Olson started the inning off quickly for Harvard, and rising double to the left-centerfield gap by Lange put Harvard back in front, 5-4. Lantz executed a suicide squeeze bunt two batters later that plated Lange, and Lantz scored herself when Hume sliced an RBI double to left field.
Yale got runners on second and third with one out in its final at-bat, but a groundout to short ended the threat and sealed the 7-4 win for Harvard. Hume finished the game 3 for 3 with an RBI, while Olson, Lange and Davis all had a pair of hits in the contest. Gabrielle Ruiz earned the win for Harvard, pitching the final two innings, allowing no hits or runs and striking out one Bulldog batter.
Harvard got down to business early in Game 2, plating a run in the bottom of the first. Olson reached on a one-out single and Lange followed with a walk. A gutsy at-bat from Lantz ended with the sophomore driving a ball through the middle, allowing Lange to come around from second with the game's first run. Morgan Groom was efficient in the circle, allowing just two baserunners and striking out three through three innings.
Stephanie Regan started the Harvard rally in the third, singling through the left side to lead off the inning. After a walk to Lange, Davis drove a single through the left side that scored Olson to give the Crimson a 2-0 edge. With two outs in the inning, Emily Gusse further padded the lead, sending a bounding ball through the middle that pushed the score to 4-0 through three frames.
Groom continued to work methodically through the Yale lineup, retiring the side in order in the fourth and fifth. The one hiccup came in the top of the sixth when she plunked the leadoff batter and then surrendered a two-run homerun to Sarah Onorato, which cut the Harvard lead to 4-2. That is as close as the Bulldogs would get, however, as Groom worked around two seventh-inning singles to retire the final batter. She earned her fifth win of the season, surrendering four hits and striking out five in the complete-game effort. Lantz finished the game 2 for 3 at the plate with an RBI while Olson recorded a run and a steal.
Harvard is back at it tomorrow when it finishes the series against the Bulldogs with a doubleheader beginning at 12:30. The Crimson will also be recognizing its senior class in a pregame ceremony.