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Crimson Crushes Bears in Sweep

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—The Harvard softball team notched 23 runs on 24 hits in just 11 innings to sweep Brown, 11-0 and 12-2, Sunday afternoon at Erickson Athletic Complex.

The wins trimmed Dartmouth’s Ivy League North Division lead to a single game, meaning the Crimson (24-14, 10-6 Ivy League) can claim its third straight division title by taking three of next weekend’s four games against the Big Green. Dartmouth split a doubleheader with Yale for the second straight day Sunday.

Junior Jennifer Francis and senior Bailey Vertovez led the Harvard offense for the second straight day. Francis homered in Game 1 and went on to a 5-for-6 day with five runs scored. Vertovez had four hits, scored three runs and, like Francis and sophomore Ellen Macadam, drove in three. Junior Melissa Schellberg led the Crimson with five RBI. Eleven Harvard players scored runs and seven had multiple runs, while 10 Crimson batters had hits and seven had more than one base knock.

The Crimson was equally dominant in the circle. Freshmen Rachel Brown and Julia Moore combined on a two-hit, six-inning shutout in Game 1. The second game lasted just five innings, with junior Dana Roberts pitching the first three and Moore taking care of the final two.

The rookie pitching tandem was dominant in the opener. Rachel Brown allowed just two hits and three total baserunners in five innings, striking out six Bears and improving to 14-5 on the season. The win moved her into a tie for fourth on Harvard’s single-season wins list. Moore pitched a perfect sixth and final frame, fanning two of the three Bears she faced.

The game was scoreless for three innings, despite the Crimson loading the bases with one out in the second inning. Brown pitcher Emily Chaddock got out of trouble with a ground ball to shortstop for a force at home and a grounder back to her to end the inning.

Chaddock and the Bears (11-21, 5-11) could not escape another jam two innings later. A pair of walks gave Harvard two runners on with two outs, and senior Bailey Vertovez seized the lead for the Crimson with a two-run double to center. Sophomore Emily Henderson and junior Stephanie Krysiak followed with consecutive singles to score Vertovez. Henderson later made it 4-0, scoring on a bases-loaded walk of freshman Whitney Shaw.

Michelle Moses came in to end the inning with a popup, but the next batter she faced was Francis, who led off the fifth inning with a home run. Harvard added two more runs in the inning on three Brown errors, inclduing two miscues on one play that allowed Henderson to come all the way around on a ground ball to third base.

The Crimson ensured an early ending to the game with a four-run sixth inning. Walks to Shaw and Francis and a Jessica Pledger single loaded the bases for Schellberg, who cleared them with a double to right center. Schellberg later scored on a Vertovez single.

The Bears looked to turn things around quickly in Game 2, taking a 2-0 lead in the opening inning. Kelsey Wilson singled home Sarah Mastrangelo and later scored on an Andrea Browne hit. Brown twice put runners on third base later in the game but could not push across another run. Roberts improved to 4-1, surrendering six hits, and Moore allowed two hits.

Brown’s only lead of the day would last just two-thirds of an inning. Shaw led off with a single followed by a Francis double and a Schellberg single to plate Shaw. Senior Hayley Bock and Krysiak would add run-scoring singles to put Harvard up, 3-2. Shaw added another run in the third. She was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on a Pledger sacrifice fly.

The hits kept coming. A two-run double capped a string of four straight baserunners, three on hits, to open the fourth inning. Francis brought home two more runs with a single to left, and Schellberg made it 9-2 with a single inside the rightfield line. Harvard added three more runs in the fifth and final frame, capped by back-to-back RBI doubles by Macadam and Francis.

The Crimson next faces Providence in a single home game Tuesday at Soldiers Field.