Harvard needs to take three of four from Dartmouth this weekend to claim its fourth straight North Division crown (Gil Talbot).
The Harvard softball team plays it final non-conference contest Thursday at Boston College before squaring off against Ivy League rival Dartmouth this weekend with the North Division title at stake.
Harvard comes into the weekend matchup one game behind the Big Green in the North Division standings. The Crimson took three of four from Brown last weekend to put its league record at 11-5, while Dartmouth swept Yale to move to 12-4 in Ancient Eight action. Harvard needs to win three of the four games against the Big Green in order to secure its fourth straight North Division title.
The Harvard softball team will be selling t-shirts and doing the raffle during Sunday's doubleheader against Dartmouth. The raffle and t-shirt sale is to raise money for charities and foundations that are supporting victims of the Boston Marathon attack. Raffle tickets are $10 and the T-shirts are $20. Tickets will be sold through the first game of the doubleheader and the drawing will take place during the second game. Fans do not need to be present in order to win the prizes.
Raffle items include: Autographed pictures by the Patriots' Vince Wilfork, Autographed baseballs from Dustin Pedroia and Clay Buchholz, Red Sox tickets, Harvard Athletic apparel, tennis lessons and more.
Harvard and BC faced off for the first time in 1982, splitting a doubleheader in Cambridge. The Eagles have the edge in the all-time series with a 35-14 record, aided by a 12-game winning streak from 2000-06. BC has been in control in recent history as well, winning the last three matchups, including a 4-1 win last year in Chestnut Hill.
The Crimson has been dominant in the series with the Big Green, owning a 50-14 record in 64 career meetings. Harvard won the inaugural battle against Dartmouth in 1981 by a score of 15-4, and put together an impressive 19-game winning streak from 1985-99. After a pair of season series sweeps in 2010 and 2011, Harvard split with the Big Green last year, but still claimed the Ivy North Division crown.
The Crimson enters the BC matchup with an overall record of 21-18 and looks to secure its seventh consecutive winning season against the Eagles and Big Green. After Harvard took the first three games against Brown last weekend in Providence, R.I., the Bears put together a seventh-inning rally to steal the final game of the series and keep the Crimson one game behind Dartmouth in the league standings.
Shelbi Olson has been a hitting machine for Harvard, especially in conference action where she leads the league with a .500 batting average. She is also the league-leader in steals with 13 in conference play. Kasey Lange leads all Ivy League hitters with 23 RBI in conference games and 39 overall. She is also tied for the league lead in doubles with seven, while rookie Zoe Galindo is tied for the Ivy lead in triples with three this year.
A trio of strong performances last week saw freshman Morgan Groom earn Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors. She ranks fifth among Ivy pitchers with 79 strikeouts on the year and her 2.41 earned-run average is fourth-best in the conference.
Scouting Boston College
Harvard's local non-conference foe enters Thursday's game with an 11-30 overall record. In its last action, BC dropped two out of three games to ACC foe Maryland in College Park. Boston College took the second game of the set by a score of 8-6.
Megan Cooley is the offensive catalyst for the Eagles, leading the team with a .338 batting average, 34 runs and 45 hits. She also holds the team lead in steals with 20 in 22 attempts this season. Tory Speer is the team RBI leader with 28 on the year, and she also leads the team in home runs (nine) and slugging percentage (.667). Chelsea Dimon leads the pitching staff with 42 strikeouts on the season in 103.2 innings pitched.
Sophomore Kristen Rumley is one of most well-rounded players in the Ivy League, entering the Harvard series as the top pitcher in the league and the second-best hitter on the Big Green. She is batting .351 in 39 games for Dartmouth and leads the team with 25 runs scored this season. She has collected 46 hits, including five doubles, two triples and a home run, and is slugging .443. In the circle, she has compiled a league-best 20-6 record to go along with a dazzling 1.61 ERA. She has 152 strikeouts to her credit and has pitched in 165.2 innings.
Hillary Hubert leads all Big Green hitters with a .397 average and is second on the team with 30 RBI. Katie McEachern leads the team in the power categories, slugging .628 and posting nine homeruns and 34 RBI.