Softball Opens Ivy Slate on the Road Against Penn, Columbia

Harvard brings a 14-10 record into the games this weekend (Harvard Athletic Communications).

The Particulars
The Harvard softball team opens its Ivy League schedule this weekend with doubleheaders at Penn and Columbia. The Penn games will be played Saturday, April 2, after originally being scheduled for Friday April 1, and the Columbia doubleheader was bumped back to Sunday, April 3.

About the Crimson
Harvard has had a great start to the season and enters the weekend with a 14-10 overall record. The Crimson finished its warm-weather swing to Florida and California with an 8-8 record, notching notable wins over Seton Hall, Michigan State, UC Riverside and San Diego. Since its return to the Northeast, Harvard has captured six of its eight games, including shutouts against Quinnipiac and Rhode Island.

Ellen Macadam has driven the offense so far this season, leading the team in batting average (.456), hits (36), runs (22), home runs (4) and on-base percentage (.517). Rookie Kasey Lange has shown a penchant for driving in runs, as she leads the team with 21 RBI in 24 games. Whitney Shaw is second on the team with a .352 batting average and 17 RBI and has swiped five bases on the year.

Rachel Brown has been stellar in the circle for Harvard, racking up two Ivy League Pitcher of the Week awards already this season. She ranks third in the nation in strikeouts per seven innings (12.1) and leads the league in strikeouts (156), wins (10) and opponent batting average (.177). Freshman Laura Ricciardone has been a consistent number two for Harvard, posting a 4-3 record and a 2.31 ERA in 12 appearances this season.

Last Time Out
The Crimson put on a hitting display against Rhode Island in its home-opening doubleheader, battering the Rams, 15-7 (5 inn.) and 10-0 (5 inn.), Tuesday afternoon. Whitney Shaw was the offensive hero for the Crimson, driving in four runs with a pair of RBI doubles in the first game and roping a two-run home run and an RBI single in the second for seven RBI between the two games. Kassy Shiotani and Ellen Macadam both went 3 for 3 in Game 1, and Rachel Brown and Laura Ricciardone were the winning pitchers for the Crimson.

Scouting the Quakers
Penn enters the weekend with an 8-9 overall record, riding a two-game win streak. The Quakers took down Rider, 6-4, in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday and blanked local foe La Salle, 6-0, in a single game Wednesday. Penn has already played eight games at its home facility of Warren Field and is 2-6 in those contests.

Kayla Dahlerbruch leads a balanced Penn lineup with a .370 batting average on the season, and her five doubles is also a team-best mark. Elyssa Gorney (.367 BA) and Brooke Coloma (.340 BA) are tied for the team lead with 18 hits this year while Alisha Prystowsky has 13 RBI to lead the team. Mikenzie Voves leads a deep Penn pitching staff with a 6-3 record, 3.26 earned run average and 32 strikeouts on the year.

Scouting the Lions
Columbia starts the weekend with an 8-15 overall record but is 2-0 in two games at Baker Field this season. The Lions split a doubleheader with Manhattan Tuesday, taking the back half of the twinbill, 4-1. Columbia takes on Dartmouth Saturday in its Ivy League opener before facing the Crimson in a doubleheader Sunday.

Emily Caruthers has started all 23 games for Columbia and leads the team with a .357 batting average and nine stolen bases. Anne Marie Skylis has provided the pop for Columbia in its non-conference schedule, notching a team-best 23 hits, two home runs and nine RBI as well as a team-high .500 slugging percentage. Karen Tulig has also driven in nine runs this season and leads the team with six doubles. Maggie Johnson and Prophet Gaspard have been the workhorses in the circle for Columbia. Johnson leads the team with a 2.32 ERA over 78.1 innings while Gaspard has team-high totals of six wins, 53 strikeouts and one shutout.

Up Next
Harvard steps back out of conference for a one-game engagement with Providence April 5 at Soldiers Field. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.