Softball Wraps Up Northridge Classic With 3-2 Wins Over Oregon State, Maine

Laura Ricciardone didn't allow an earned run against Maine Sunday (Harvard Athletic Communications).

The Harvard softball team completed its undefeated run at the 2012 Northridge Classic, defeating Oregon State and Maine by scores of 3-2 Sunday at Matador Diamond. The pair of wins gives Harvard a 7-3 record on the season, as well as a five-game winning streak.     

Harvard continued its trend of scoring early in its game against the Beavers, taking a 1-0 lead after one full inning. Jane Alexander reached on a single to the pitcher with one out, and advanced to second on a two-out wild pitch. Allison Scott brought Alexander home with a double to left field, her first extra-base hit of the season.

Hurler Rachel Brown was up to her usual tricks, keeping the OSU bats silent through the first five innings, picking up four strikeouts during that stretch. Harvard tacked on another run in the fifth to take a 2-0 lead into the final two frames. Stephanie Regan reached on an error by the first baseman, and moved to second on an Alexander sacrifice bunt. Rookie Andrea Del Conte pinch ran for Regan, and RBI leader Kasey Lange plated Del Conte with a single through the middle.  

The Crimson ran into some trouble in the top of the sixth as Paige Hall singled to center and Erin Guzy tied the score with a two-run homer over the right field fence. Harvard was unable to respond in the bottom of the inning, but started the bottom of the seventh with two runners on, thanks to an Ashley Heritage single and Regan Walk. The Beavers changed pitchers which proved to be a tough choice, as a pair of wild pitches allowed Heritage to advance to third, and then score the winning run. Lange was the only player on either team to record multiple hits with two on the day, and Brown upped her record to 4-1 on the season.

The second game of the day against the Black Bears was a pitcher's duel, as Laura Ricciardone and Maine's Kylie Sparks traded blank frames through the first four innings of the game. The Crimson once again broke through first, plating two runs in the top of the fifth, thanks to three hits in the inning. Heritage ripped a one-out double down the left field line, and Regan followed with an RBI double to left. The next batter, Alexander, brought Regan in with Harvard's second run on a single up the middle.

Rookie Adrienne Hume gave Harvard a 3-0 lead an inning later, ripped an RBI double to left that plated Eve Rosenbaum, who was pinch running for Katherine Appelbe, who reached with a leadoff single. A Harvard error proved costly in the bottom of the sixth, as the Black Bears cut the deficit to one, scoring a pair of unearned runs on an RBI groundout and a single to center. Maine put runners on in the bottom of the seventh, but Ricciardone fanned the final batter of the game to seal the victory for the Crimson.

Ricciardone finished the complete game effort with five strikeouts while allowing just four hits. Regan played the role of offensive sparkplug in Game 2, going 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI, while Alexander finished 2 for 3 with an RBI.

The Crimson will take on Utah State on the campus of Loyola Marymount tomorrow, before heading to San Diego for the San Diego Classic II, which begins March 15. The game tomorrow will be played at 11:00 a.m. (2:00 p.m. EST).