Whitney Shaw blasted a solo homerun against Cornell Friday (Gil Talbot).
ITHACA, N.Y. – The Crimson posted four runs in the top of the eighth in Game 1 and nearly rallied from a five run deficit in Game 2 as the Harvard softball team split a doubleheader with Cornell in its first Ivy League action of the season Friday. Harvard took the opening game 6-2 in eight innings, and fell, 10-8, in the high-scoring second game.
Neither team was able to bring a run across through the first five innings of Game 1. Rachel Brown was in command in the circle for Harvard, fanning eight Big Red batters through the first five frames and allowing just a double in that span. Morgan Cawley led off the bottom of the sixth with a double to left and Linda Laeufer gave the hosts a two-run lead with a homerun over the left-centerfield wall. The Crimson was resilient and after Katherine Appelbe reached on a one-out single, Ashley Heritage punched a single through the left side to give Harvard runners on first and second with two outs. Kasey Lange came to the rescue as the sophomore ripped a 3-2 pitch to left center, plating a pair of runs and pushing the game to extra frames.
The top of the eighth saw a similar situation for Harvard as Shelbi Olson singled and Whitney Shaw walked to give the Crimson runners on first and second with two outs. Appelbe came up big with an RBI single through the right side and Jane Alexander put the game out of reach with a three-run blast to left-center. Brown fanned another pair of hitters in the bottom of the eighth to seal the 6-2 final. She finished the game with 13 strikeouts while Alexander, Appelbe and Olson recorded a pair of hits each in the win.
A bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the first gave Cornell an early 1-0 lead in Game 2, but Shaw responded with a solo blast in the top of the second and an RBI single up the middle by Katherine Lantz gave Harvard a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the second. The hosts answered back with a quartet of runs in the bottom of the third, ripping six hits and taking advantage of a pair of Harvard errors. A Lauren Bucolo three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth put Cornell up 8-3 after four full innings.
Harvard refused to go quietly, however, and worked its way back into the game with four runs of its own in the top of the fifth. Shaw drew a bases-loaded walk that brought Heritage home and Olson plated Alexander with an RBI groundout to second base. Appelbe drove a single up the middle that scored Shaw and Lange, bringing Harvard to within one at 8-7. After Cornell failed to score in the bottom of the inning, Emily Gusse led off the top of the sixth with a single and came home on an Alexander double down the left field line to knot the score at 8-8. Brown took over pitching duties in the bottom of the sixth, but Erin Keene had the clutch hit, lifting a two-run homerun down the left field line that would prove to be the difference in the game.
Olson and Alexander had a pair of hits each in the game, Shaw and Appelbe notched a pair of RBI each and six different Harvard players recorded RBI in the loss. Brown absorbed the loss on the mound after Laura Ricciardone started the game and Gabrielle Ruiz struck out three in two innings of relief.
Harvard continues in Ivy action tomorrow as it takes on Princeton in a doubleheader beginning at 12:30 p.m.