Home Opener Yields Pair of Wins for Softball Over Rhode Island, 11-1 (5), 2-1

Home Opener Yields Pair of Wins for Softball Over Rhode Island, 11-1 (5), 2-1

Gabrielle Ruiz went six innings in the Game 2 victory Tuesday (Photo: Mike Slade).

In its first home action of the 2013 season the Harvard softball team posted a pair of wins over Rhode Island, downing the Rams 11-1 (5) in Game 1 and 2-1 in Game 2 Tuesday at Soldiers Field. Harvard snaps a four-game losing skid and improves its record to 7-12 on the year while Rhode Island slips to 5-15.  

The power arrived quickly for Harvard in Game 1, as the hosts jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one at-bat. Zoe Galindo was hit by a pitch and Katherine Lantz drew a one-out walk to put two runners on for RBI specialist Kasey Lange. The junior did not disappoint, blasting a towering fly ball that cleared the right field fence for her third homer of the season and the early edge.

Harvard hurler Morgan Groom surrendered a handful of hits in the first two innings, but the Crimson defense managed to keep the Rams off the scoreboard with solid defensive execution. The Crimson began to pour it on in the bottom of the second, as Katherine Appelbe led off with a walk and Andrea Del Conte followed with a single. Shelbi Olson stretched the home lead to four with an RBI single to center, and after Galindo walked, Lantz earned an RBI with a bases loaded hit-by-pitch. Lange picked up her fourth RBI of the day with a groundout to second and a two-run single by Emily Gusse vaulted Harvard out to a commanding 8-0 lead. Gusse came home on a wild pitch two batters later to stake Harvard to a 9-0 lead after just two frames.

A hit and a pair of errors led to URI's only run of the game, but Harvard answered back with two more thanks to a two-run single up the middle by Alyssa Siegmann. Groom re-entered the game in the top of the fifth and closed the door for the Crimson in the 11-1 win. Harvard collected six hits in the victory, and was led by Lange's four RBI. Groom went four innings in the game, scattering five hits and not allowing a run.

A similar scene unfolded in Game 2 when Harvard leapt out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The leadoff batter Lantz turned on the first pitch she saw, driving a double to right-center field and Olson reached base in the next at-bat thanks to an error on a sacrifice bunt. During the next at-bat, Olson broke for second and the URI catcher fired a low throw to third to try to catch Lantz, but the ball skirted into the outfield, allowing the run to come home. A third error in the inning on a hard ground ball allowed Olson to come home to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

From there, sophomore pitcher Gabrielle Ruiz took control of the game, posting 1-2-3 innings in the second, fourth and fifth frames. The Rams bunched a pair of singles in the top of the sixth, but a heads-up double play turned by Lange kept the Rams off the board. In their final at-bat, the Rams were able to put a run across, collecting a pair of singles off Harvard reliever Jamie Halula, but one final groundout ended the game in Harvard's favor, 2-1.

Ruiz picked up her second win of the season, going six innings and allowing no runs while surrendering four hits and striking out four batters. Lange and Lantz both had a pair of hits each in the Game 2 win.

Harvard is back in action this weekend when it opens Ivy League play on the road against Penn (Friday) and Columbia (Saturday).