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Softball Splits With Brown, 6-2 and 4-5, To Close Ivy Road Weekend

Stephanie Regan collected four hits in the two games against Brown Sunday (Gil Talbot).

PROVIDENCE, R.I. –
After collecting a victory in Game 1, the Harvard softball team was stunned by North Division for Brown in Game 2, as the Bears forced a split Sunday on their home field. The results move Harvard to 21-18 on the year and 11-5 in Ivy play, one game behind division-leading Dartmouth.

Pitchers Morgan Groom and Sarah Ropiak matched each other for the first two frames, keeping the game scoreless. The hosts broke through in the bottom of the third however, grabbing a 2-0 lead midway through the game. Tris Chavez earned an RBI when she drew a bases-loaded walk for the game's first run, and Ropiak helped her own cause with an RBI single up the middle to spot her team to a 2-0 lead. The lead was short-lived, however, as the Crimson had a swift response in its next at-bat.

A pair of errors saw the first two base runners reach, and Emily Gusse moved them both in to scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Katherine Appelbe knotted the score in the next at-bat, driving a single through the middle that allowed Katherine Lantz and Kasey Lange to both come home. The next hitter, Haley Davis, strayed from the small-ball approach and smacked a two-run home run over the right field fence to push the Harvard lead to 4-2. From that point on, Groom was untouchable, striking out two through the final four frames and not allowing a hit. Zoe Galindo tripled and came home on a passed ball in the seventh, and Lange singled home Stephanie Regan to put the final score at 6-2 in favor of Harvard.

Groom upped her record to 8-8 on the year with the complete-game victory, tying a season-high for strikeouts with eight and allowing just two hits in the game. Galindo, Davis and Regan all had a pair of hits in the game for Harvard.

A walk to Regan kicked off the second game of the day, and after moving to second on a Shelbi Olson groundout, Regan came home when Lange roped a double to right for a 1-0 lead. Harvard tacked on two more in the second, thanks to an RBI double from Adrienne Hume and an RBI base hit to right from Regan, giving Harvard a 3-0 lead. Pitcher Gabrielle Ruiz got through the first three frames without incident, but ran into some trouble in the Brown fourth. Three straight singles to start the inning loaded the bases, and a walk to the next batter put Brown on the board. Jamie Halula relieved Ruiz and promptly invoked three fly ball outs to escape the jam with just the one run in.

The score stayed at 3-1 until Harvard last at-bat where a walk, a single and two steals put runners on second and third with one out. Olson dropped down a bunt single that brought in Galindo with Harvard's fourth run, but a pair of pop ups kept the score at 4-1 heading into the final half inning. Taking advantage of a hit and a pair of errors by the Crimson, Brown put together a rally that saw it load the bases with one out, and then cut the deficit to 4-2 thanks to a Harvard miscue. Back-to-back bases loaded walks pushed the score to 4-4 and one final wild pitch saw the winning run come home in a stunning 5-4 victory for the Bears.

Halula shouldered the loss for the Crimson despite allowing just one hit and striking out two in three innings of work. Regan and Olson had a pair of hits each for Harvard and four different Crimson players tallied RBIs in the loss.

Harvard's final non-conference test comes Thursday when it travels across town to take on Boston College in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.