Sweep Complete as Softball Downs Yale 12-3 (5) and 5-3 On Senior Day

Sweep Complete as Softball Downs Yale 12-3 (5) and 5-3 On Senior Day

Harvard recognized its seniors prior to Sunday's doubleheader (Harvard Athletic Communications).

A seven-run fifth inning led to a run-rule victory in Game 1 and a walk-off homerun from Kasey Lange sealed Game 2 as the Harvard softball team completed the season series sweep of Yale Sunday at Soldiers Field. The Crimson improves to 16-17 on the year and remains tied atop the Ivy North Division standings with Dartmouth at 8-4.  

The runs came early for both team in Game 1 , putting both offenses on display through the entire contest. Sarah Onorato set the tone in the first at-bat of the game, driving a triple to the right-centerfield gap and coming home on a Harvard miscue on the relay. The Crimson was a bit more methodical in pulling even in the bottom of the first, using back-to-back singles from Shelbi Olson and Kasey Lange and an RBI groundout from Katherine Lantz to produce its first run.

Tori Balta drew a bases-loaded walk to swing the lead back to Yale, 2-1, in the second, but Harvard would take the lead for good in the next half inning. Adrienne Hume led off with a double and the hosts got runners on second and third on a fielding error in the next at-bat. Zoe Galindo punched a single through the right side to bring home Hume and knot the score at two. Two batters later it was Olson singling through the right side to bring in Harvard's third run, and Hayley Davis made it 4-2 Crimson with a sacrifice fly. Christy Nelson brought the Bulldogs to within one with an RBI single in the fourth, but that is as close as the guests would get as Harvard blew the game open in the bottom of the fifth.

Lantz started the frame with a walk and scored all the way from first on an Emily Gusse double. Hume reached on a bunt single and Katherine Appelbe smacked a single through the middle to push the Harvard lead to 6-3. After an error allowed the hosts to load the bases with one out, Olson brought in a run with a solid single to left. After fouling off a number of pitches with a 2-2 count, Lange launched a deep shot over the right fielder's head that brought in two more runs for the Crimson, making the run-rule a reality for the home team. A walk to Davis re-loaded the bases and Olson beat the throw home when Lantz hit into a fielder's choice. Hume ended the game two batters later with a ringing shot to the right-centerfield gap, bringing home two runs and ending the game early with a 12-3 score.

Olson and Hume both went 3 for 3 with two RBI in Game 1 while Lange and Lantz also had two RBI apiece. Gusse also picked up a pair of hits in the game while Jamie Halula earned the win in the circle for the Crimson.

Harvard manufactured a run in the second inning of Game 2 to grab an early lead. Davis led off with a single through the right side and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Lantz. Gusse ripped a single through the left side  to move Davis to third and Hume poked a sacrifice fly to left that plated Davis. In the top of the fourth, Yale's Christy Nelson led off with a towering homer to centerfield which squared the game at 1-1. Harvard answered right back in the bottom of the frame when Appelbe shot a single to right that brought Lantz in to make the score 2-1.

The hosts got into a jam in the fifth when the Bulldogs loaded the bases with just one out. Pitcher Gabrielle Ruiz got Nelson to pop up to third for the second out of the inning and Gusse made a spectacular play  for the final out, diving to her left to spear a line drive and prevent the guests from bringing in any runs. The sophomore shortstop contributed again immediately, stretching the home lead to 3-1 with an RBI single that plated Lantz.

Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Yale in its final at-bat and the Bulldogs drew within one when Nelson reached on an RBI fielder's choice. Down to their last out, the Bulldogs pulled through when Kelsey Warkentine shot a single down the left field line to level the score. A one out single, and ensuing stolen base, by Olson in the bottom of the inning gave the hosts a runner in scoring position with one out, but the slugger Lange didn't leave anything to chance, blasting a two-run homer over the right-centerfield fence to end the game in dramatic fashion.

Gusse ended the game 3 for 3 from the plate with an RBI and a steal, while Lange led all Crimson hitters with two RBI. Halula picked up her second win of the day in just 0.2 innings of work.

Harvard wraps up its lengthy homestand Thursday with another Connecticut team when it takes on Quinnipiac in a non-conference doubleheader.