Softball Squares Off Against Yale In Key Division Series

Pictured: Harvard enters the weekend tied with Dartmouth atop the Ivy League North standings.
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The Particulars
The Harvard softball team looks to maintain its place atop the Ivy League North Division standings as it travels to New Haven, Conn., for a pair of doubleheaders against division rival Yale Saturday and Monday. The Crimson is currently tied for the top spot in the division with Dartmouth as both teams boast a conference record of 9-3.

Schedule Change
The second doubleheader between the Crimson and Bulldogs was originally scheduled for Sunday but has been postponed until Monday. The first game will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Last Time Out
Harvard plated a run in the top of the seventh to push the game to extra innings but Rhode Island used a four-run 10th to capture a 7-5 win Tuesday afternoon in a makeup game.

Harvard jumped out to an early lead as Jessica Pledger drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the first and Whitney Shaw bashed a home run to center to give the guests a 2-0 lead after three innings. The Rams responded with three runs in the bottom of the sixth on the strength of four hits to take a 3-2 lead. The Crimson took advantage of a Rams miscue in the top of the seventh to knot the score at 3-3, pushing the game to extra frames.

In the top of the tenth, Stephanie Krysiak was placed on second base and Shaw plated her with her second long ball of the game to give the guests a 5-3 lead. Melissa Wilson got the Rams within one with an RBI single and Erika Szymanski drilled a three-run homer to center to give the hosts a 7-5 win.

Scouting the Bulldogs
Yale enters the weekend in third place in the division, five games behind the Crimson with a 4-8 league record to go with a 9-22 overall mark. In their last action, the Bulldogs dropped a quartet of contests to division foe Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H., last weekend.

The Bulldogs boast three players batting over .300 entering the weekend as Ashley Sloan (.321), Meg Johnson (.313) and Allie Canulli (.311) hold the top three batting averages and hit totals on the team. Christy Nelson has provided the pop for the Bulldogs this season, leading team with four home runs and 15 RBI. On the pitching staff, Holly Gutterud holds a team-low earned run average of 3.27 over 66.1 innings of work while Kayla Kuretich holds team high totals of 80.0 innings pitched and 63 strikeouts.

Crimson Statistical Leaders
Ellen Macadam leads the Crimson in hits (37) and batting average (.325), while also holding team-high marks of 10 steals, 17 runs scored and 11 doubles on the year. Whitney Shaw has been the run producer for Harvard, driving in a team-high 27 runs on the season to go along with her team-leading eight home runs and .638 slugging percentage. Jessica Ferri and Jennifer Francis each have three home runs on the season while Emily Henderson has nine steals.

Rachel Brown still paces the Harvard pitching staff in a number of categories, including ERA (1.40), wins (11), innings pitched (120.1) and strikeouts (168). Margaux Black has come on strong as of late, and holds a 2.59 ERA to go along with a team-high tying two saves. Julia Moore has collected four wins for the Crimson this season.

On the Horizon
After the Yale weekend, Harvard will step out of conference one final time in the regular season to square off against local rival Boston University, April 29 at 4 p.m. The Terriers made the trip to Cambridge earlier this season and emerged victorious in a slugfest, taking a 14-8 decision March 25, in Harvard's home opener.