Pictured: Harvard is looking for its first league title
Photo Courtesy: Gil Talbot
The Harvard softball team travels to Ithaca, N.Y., to take on Cornell for the Ivy League championship in a best-of-three series. Play begins with a doubleheader Friday at 12:30 p.m., at Niemand *Robinson Field, with a single game scheduled for 12:30 Saturday if necessary.
The Crimson earned a berth in the league-title series by claiming the Ivy League North Division title, finishing six games ahead of second-place Dartmouth. The Big Red clinched the South Division crown, ending the season five games clear of second-place Penn.
Follow From Home
Harvard fans can follow the action by clicking the "live stats" link on the GoCrimson.com softball schedule page, or by clicking HERE.
Last Time Out
Harvard wrapped up its regular season schedule with a sweep of Dartmouth, downing the Big Green, 7-1 and 6-5 (8), Sunday afternoon in an Ivy League North doubleheader. Four runs in the top of the third inning gave the Crimson all the offense it needed in game one, thanks to two long-balls in the inning. Ellen Macadam started the frame with a solo shot to left center, and after Whitney Shaw walked and Jessica Ferri singled to left, Jennifer Francis belted a homer to right center to give Harvard a four-run cushion. Julia Moore went the distance for the Crimson in game one, earning her fifth win of the season. The sophomore scattered five hits and allowed just one run over seven innings, striking out four in the process.
The Big Green bats showed up early in game two as the hosts plated three runs in the first, thanks in part to a Leigha Clarkson two-run home run. Melissa Schellberg started the scoring for the Crimson in the second game, scoring Jane Alexander on a single to right in the Harvard fifth. Down 3-1 entering the final frame, Harvard plated four runs to grab a 5-3 lead. Mari Zumbro led off with a double and pinch-runner Kassy Shiotani scored on the ensuing Alexander double. Macadam plated Alexander with an RBI single and Shaw blasted a two-run shot to center to help Harvard to the late lead. Dartmouth knotted the score with two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Zumbro struck again with an RBI single in the top of the eighth and Margaux Black held the Big Green hitless to seal the 6-5 win.
Scouting the Big Red
After taking three of four from Princeton in the final Ivy League weekend, Cornell swept Binghamton in a doubleheader on Tuesday to complete its regular-season schedule. The Big Red banged out 15 hits on game one as each player in the Cornell lineup recorded at least one hit. Devon March led the offense with a 2 for 4 showing from the plate, driving in three runs and scoring one as well. Hurler Elizabeth Dalrymple went 5.1 innings, earning the win and not allowing a run while striking out nine. Ali Tomlinson paced the Big Red offense in game two, going 3 for 4 with two RBI and two runs scored while Lauren Marx picked up the win in the circle.
While Shannon Crane boasts the highest batting average in the Big Red lineup at .396, Alyson Intihar has proved to be one of the top hitters in the league, leading the team with 67 hits and ranking second with 42 runs scored. Elise Menaker is the top run producer on the team with 51 RBI on the season, and Kristen Towne leads the team with eight home runs. Dalrymple is Cornell's top pitcher, leading the league in wins with 19, and pacing the team in ERA (1.73), innings pitched (153.1) and strikeouts (188).
Earlier in the Year
The Crimson and Big Red squared off in a doubleheader earlier this season, splitting the pair of games April 3. Both teams took some time to figure out the opposing pitchers in game one, but the Big Red broke through with three runs in the third and two more in the fourth to take a 5-0 lead. Harvard built some momentum in the top of the fifth as Jane Alexander and Jessica Pledger ripped consecutive singles to put two runners aboard. Jessica Ferri launched her first career home run to center, and Stephanie Krysiak followed with an RBI single to bring the score to 5-4. The Big Red responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and another in the sixth to take game one, 8-4.
Harvard wasted little time plating runs in game two as Whitney Shaw drove a three-run homer to center to give the guests an early 3-0 edge. After scoring one run in the bottom of the third, Cornell banged out six hits, including a triple by Morgan Cawley, and scored five runs in the third to take a 6-3 lead. Harvard tied the score a half-inning later as Ferri knocked an RBI double to center and Schellberg scored Eve Rosenbaum with a sacrifice fly. With the score tied at 6-6, Shaw drove her second home run of the game, a solo shot to left in the top of the fifth, to help the Crimson regain the lead. Margaux Black held the Big Red in check down the stretch, going 4.2 innings in relief and allowing no runs and just three hits to get her first win of the season.
Ivy Championship History
Harvard is in search of its fifth Ivy League championship, claiming its fourth league title in 2007. This is the Crimson's third appearance in the four-year history of the Ivy League Championship series. Harvard swept Penn to take the 2007 crown and fell to Princeton the following spring.
The defending champion Big Red will also be looking for its fifth title after claiming the automatic NCAA berth last season with a win over Dartmouth in the league title series.
The winner of the Ivy League championship will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, which begins with the regional round May 21-23.