South Division Foes Columbia, Penn On Tap for Softball's First Ivy Home Games

South Division Foes Columbia, Penn On Tap for Softball's First Ivy Home Games

Harvard looks to collect its first win at Soldiers Field on the season this weekend (Harvard Athletic Communications).

The Particulars
The Harvard softball team kicks off its Ivy League home schedule as it welcomes Columbia for a Friday doubleheader and Penn for a Saturday twinbill. Saturday's matchup between the Crimson and Quakers represents a showdown between the two current Ivy division leaders.

Last Time Out
The Crimson traveled to Providence, R.I., Tuesday for a single game against the Friars. Providence took a 2-0 lead after three innings, but a Marika Zumbro RBI single got Harvard on the board in the top of the fourth. Kasey Lange launched a solo home run to lead off the top of the sixth, but the hosts plated one final run in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-2 win. Rachel Brown recorded seven strikeouts in just four innings of work.

About Harvard
With a 3-1 league record, Harvard sits atop the Ivy North Division standings and is one of only two Ivy teams (Penn) with a winning overall record at 15-9. In its first conference action, the Crimson split a doubleheader at Cornell and swept Princeton, posting 14 runs between two games against the Tigers.

Senior shortstop Jane Alexander is having a breakout season at the plate, leading the squad with a .443 batting average, 35 hits and eight doubles. Shelbi Olson has also turned up the heat in her sophomore campaign, ranking second on the team with a .369 average, while classmate Kasey Lange continues to be the team's biggest run producer with 21 RBI this season. Strikeout specialist Rachel Brown boasts a 1.67 earned run average, a 9-4 record and 125 strikeouts in 92 innings pitched.

Scouting Columbia
The Lions enter Friday's doubleheader with a 7-18 overall record to go with a 1-3 conference mark. After playing a challenging tournament schedule to start the season, the Lions have gone 4-3 since Returning to the Northeast.

Columbia collected its lone Ivy win in its Ancient Eight opener against Yale, downing the Bulldogs, 4-1. Christie Taylor and Tristin Moone had a pair of hits and an RBI each in the win and Brooke Darling went the distance in the circle to improve her record to 4-8 on the year. An early Bulldogs lead stood up in Game 2 as Yale captured a 4-3 win, despite a pair of Columbia runs in the bottom of the sixth. Two days later, Brown blanked Columbia, 8-0 in five innings, in Game 1, and held on for a 6-5 win in Game 2, despite a furious comeback attempt in which the Lions scored four runs in the final half inning.

Alison Lam leads all Lions with a .340 batting average while Emily Snodgrass is hitting .303 on the year and holds the team lead in hits (23), doubles (10) and slugging (.434). Morgan Cook has a team-high 11 RBI this season, and Jennifer Bergeron leads the team with six steals in seven attempts. Darling has a team-high 77.2 innings pitched and 47 strikeouts on the season, while Kalli Schultea tops the pitching staff with a 3.32 ERA.

Scouting Penn
The Quakers begin the weekend as the last undefeated team in Ivy play this season, boasting a 4-0 league record. Penn is 19-10 overall on the season and will be playing its first conference road games when it travels to Dartmouth Friday.

In its first Ivy action of the season, Penn took care of North Division opponents Brown and Yale, sweeping both pairs of games. In Game 1 against Brown, Jessica Melendez launched a pair of home runs and drove in four as the Quakers took a 7-4 victory. Game 2 was much closer, and it took a ninth-inning RBI single from Kayla Dahlerbruch to break a 4-4 tie and give Penn a narrow 5-4 win. Dahlerbruch provided the lone run with a solo blast in a 1-0 win over Yale the following day, and the Quakers erupted for 14 runs and 11 hits in a five-inning 14-3, romp in Game 2.

Sydney Turchin enters the weekend with the team lead in batting average (.353), hits (30), runs (22) and steals (11 for 13). Dahlerbruch leads the team with 17 RBI and shares the team lead in home runs (5) with Jessica Melendez. Brooke Coloma is only one off the team lead for RBI with 16 this season. Rookie pitcher Alexis Borden has been stellar for the Quakers and boasts a 12-2 record, 1.18 earned run average and 100 strikeouts in 94.2 innings pitched.