Big Bats Help Softball Ease Past Yale, 14-1 (5) and 11-2 (6)

Ashley Heritage went 3 for 3 with three RBI in Game 1 against Yale Saturday (Harvard Athletic Communications).

NEW HAVEN, Conn. –
The Harvard softball team put up 25 runs between two run-rule shortened games, sweeping Yale, 14-1 (5) in Game 1 and 11-2 (6) in Game 2 Saturday in its first Ivy North Division action of the season. Harvard improves to 22-10 overall and 9-1 in Ivy play to remain tied with Cornell for the league's best record.   

The team's hottest hitter, Jane Alexander, began the day with a leadoff triple to center field and came home on Stephanie Regan's RBI double three batters later. The Bulldogs responded by manufacturing a run in the bottom of the inning, collecting two hits and tying the score after one full inning of play. It was the second inning that set the tone for the afternoon as the Crimson offense broke the game open.

Allison Scott started the frame with a double and walks to Whitney Shaw and Adrienne Hume loaded the bases. Ashley Heritage ripped a single to left for Harvard's first run, Alexander walked to force in another run and Shelbi Olson and Kasey Lange poked back-to-back singles to give Harvard a 6-1 lead with no outs in the second. Scott's sacrifice fly plated Harvard's sixth run of the inning and a Yale error allowed the Crimson to bring home it's seventh run of the frame to take a commanding 8-1 lead. Regan made it 9-1 in the next inning with an RBI single to left field.

Harvard kept pouring it on in the fourth as Heritage poked an RBI double down the leftfield line and came home on an Alexander single to right. Jessica Ferri came in as a pinch hitter in the next at-bat and belted a two-run homer to left, giving Harvard a daunting 13-1 edge after four full innings. Heritage drove in her third run of the day with an RBI double in the fifth, sealing the 14-1 win for the Crimson. Heritage finished Game 1 3 for 3 with three RBI while Lange, Alexander and Regan all had a pair of hits in the win. Rachel Brown stifled the Yale offense, fanning nine in three innings of work for her 13th win of the season, and Gabrielle Ruiz allowed just one hit in two innings of relief.

The Crimson grabbed the lead in Game 2 as well, bringing home three runs in the second inning. Singles by Katherine Lantz and Scott and a Yale error let Harvard load the bases with no out and Ferri singled to shortstop to get the Crimson on the board. Alexander brought in another with an RBI fielder's choice and Olson's RBI groundout gave the guests a 3-0 lead after two. In the fourth, Olson picked up an RBI single and Lange followed with an RBI double for two more runs, and a wild pitcher and a Regan single put Harvard ahead 7-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth.

Yale picked up a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth on three hits, but Harvard posted another four-spot in the top of the sixth to put the game out of reach. The Crimson knocked six hits in the frame, highlighted by a two-run single by Lange and an RBi double by Whitney Shaw, and was able to hold the Bulldogs scoreless in the bottom of the inning to cap the Saturday sweep.

Laura Ricciardone earned the win in the circle for Harvard, scattering six hits and striking out three for her ninth victory of the season. Lange finished the game 3 for 4 from the plate with three RBI and a pair of runs scored while Olson also drove in a trio of runs and scored a pair. In all, seven Harvard players notched at least one RBI in the victory.

Harvard is back at it tomorrow in another doubleheader against the Bulldogs, beginning at 12:30 p.m.