Softball Looks to Clinch North Division Title in Weekend Series With Brown
Jane Alexander ranks ninth in the nation with a .449 batting average (Harvard Athletic Communications).
The Crimson looks to secure its third-straight and fifth overall Ivy League North Division title as it hosts Brown in a pair of Ivy doubleheaders.
The Crimson and Bears have met 74 times with Harvard holding the edge in the all-time series, 42-32. Harvard captured the first game between the two teams, 5-4, April 26, 1981. The Crimson endured a tough stretch against the Bears in the late 80's and early 90's but rebounded with 11 straight wins from 1998-2003. Harvard has claimed wins in the last seven matchups, outscoring Brown 45-7 during that stretch.
Last Year Against The Bears
Harvard overpowered Brown in a four-game road series last year, recording a pair of shutouts and totaling 35 runs between the two doubleheaders. The first game of the series saw every Harvard starter record a hit, as Rachel Brown twirled a one-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts in a run-rule shortened 8-0 victory. Laura Ricciardone followed suit in Game 2, scattering four hits in a six-inning shutout while Stephanie Regan went 4 for 4 with four runs scored and Kasey Lange was 3 for 4 with three RBI.
Brown earned her second win of the weekend the following afternoon, striking out 12 batters in a 7-3 victory. Ellen Macadam '11 led the offense, going 3 for 4 from the plate with a pair of runs scored. The Crimson wrapped up the series with an 18-hit assault, highlighted by Whitney Shaw and Allison Scott, who launched a pair of home runs each and combined to drive in eight runs. Ricciardone allowed just four hits and one earned run for her ninth win of the year.
Senior Jane Alexander remains one of the toughest outs in the nation, as she is ranked ninth in Division I with a .449 batting average. She also leads the team with 49 hits, 11 doubles, four triples and eight steals. Kasey Lange is close behind with a .413 batting average and has a team-high five home runs and 34 RBI. Shelbi Olson (.350) and Stephanie Regan (.336) are also hitting better than .300 on the season.
Rachel Brown and Laura Ricciardone have been a potent one-two punch for the Crimson in the circle. Brown leads the Ivy League with 177 strikeouts and has an impressive 1.58 earned run average to go along with her 14-4 record. Ricciardone is right behind with a 1.89 ERA and 10 wins in 89.0 innings pitched.
The Bears enter the Harvard series with an 8-18 overall record to go along with a 5-7 Ivy League mark. In its first North Division action of the season, Brown split with Dartmouth, claiming a pair of one-run victories in a doubleheader last Sunday.
Stephanie Thompson fuels the Brown attack, ranking second in the nation with a .494 batting average and 13th in slugging at .864. She is also the sixth-toughest batter to strikeout in Division I. Kat Strobel has also posted stellar numbers this season, batting at a .425 clip, slugging .800 and leading the team with 24 RBI. Rookie pitcher Jessica Cherness leads the team with 79.2 innings pitched, 48 strikeouts and six wins.
Friends of Jaclyn Day
Harvard Athletics will celebrate its third annual Friends of Jaclyn Day Saturday. The softball team will sponsor a raffle to raise funds for the organization and will also be accept donations throughout the day's events. First prize in the raffle is a pair of Red Sox tickets located behind home plate. Raffle tickets will be on sale for $10 apiece.
Friends of Jaclyn (FOJ) is a charitable organization that improves the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families. FOJ matches a child in need of love, support and friendship with a sports team based on geographic basis. The child becomes an extension of the team where a unique bond is formed between the team members, the child and the family. Grace and Paige Potvin, ages 10 and 11 respectively, joined the Harvard softball team through a program called Safe on the Sidelines. This program is an extension of the Friends of Jaclyn program and serves as a support program for the siblings of children already in the FOJ program.
For more information about the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, please visit its website at: http://www.friendsofjaclyn.org
Honoring Harvard's Seniors
The Harvard softball class of 2012 will be honored following the completion of Game 1 Saturday. This year, the Crimson featured five seniors on the roster who have helped Harvard to three Ivy League North Division titles, a 114-67 overall record, a 59-16 Ivy League record and the 2011 Ivy League championship. The quintet of seniors has totaled seven All-Ivy selections among them.