Softball Stifles Penn In Game One, 8-3, Rallies to Tie Halted Game Two, 8-8

Softball Stifles Penn In Game One, 8-3, Rallies to Tie Halted Game Two, 8-8

Harvard posted eight runs in each game Friday against Penn (Harvard Athletic Communications).

The Harvard softball team witnessed an offensive outburst in both ends of a doubleheader Friday, posting eight runs in each game against Ivy South Division rival Penn in its Ivy home opening afternoon. The Crimson powered past Penn, 8-3, in the first game of the day, and plated five runs in the bottom of the sixth to knot Game 2 at 8-8 before the contest was halted due to darkness.

The second game will be decided at a later date that has yet to be determined.

The first game of the day pitted two of the league's best pitchers against each other in Harvard's Laura Ricciardone and Penn's Alexis Borden. Each pitcher got through one inning unscathed but a solo homer from Leah Allen to lead off the second gave Penn a 1-0 edge. Harvard answered right back with a two-out rally, kicked off with an infield single from Katherine Appelbe that allowed Andrea Del Conte to come home with Harvard's first run. Appelbe quickly swiped second to give the Crimson runners at second and third, and Shelbi Olson drove a single to right-center, bringing home two and giving Harvard a 3-1 lead. Alex Sargent cut the lead to one with an RBI double to deep left-center, but Harvard re-established a two-run cushion when Katherine Lantz hit into an error that brought in Kasey Lange.

It was the bottom of the fifth where Harvard blew the game open, posting three hits, four runs, and driving Borden from the ballgame. A walk-single-sacrifice bunt scenario gave Harvard runners on second and third with one out, and Catherine Callaway executed a squeeze bunt that allowed Lantz to cross the plate on the play. Appelbe followed with her third hit of the day, and solid single up the middle that brought in Del Conte and Adrienne Hume's well-placed single down the right field line brought in a pair to put the score at 8-2. Allen would go deep again for Penn, this time of Gabrielle Ruiz, but the lefty refocused and got the final out in the 8-3 win.

Appelbe was the offensive star of the day for Harvard in Game 1, going 3 for 3 with a pair of runs scored, two steals and two RBI. Del Conte was 2 for 3 with two runs, and Olson and Hume both finished with two RBI in the contest. Ricciardone posted her second-straight eight-strikeout game, earning the win for Harvard.

Two scoreless frames went by before the action started in Game 2, when Penn's Korinne Raby grabbed the momentum with a towering grand slam with two outs in the third. Unable to respond in the bottom half of the inning, the Crimson answered with three of its own in the fourth. Hume and Lange singled to begin the inning and moved to second and third, respectively, when Gusse successfully sacrificed them over. Lantz nearly put the ball out of the park in the next at-bat, but had to settle for a stand-up triple that easily plated Lange and Hume to cut the deficit to two. Lantz came in to score soon after when an illegal pitch was called on the Quakers.

Back-to-back doubles to start the fifth saw Penn bring home another run, and one more crossed on a squeeze bunt a few batters later. Back-to-back RBI singles from Sargent and Raby seemed to put the game out of reach at 8-3 through the top of the sixth. With the light fading fast, the Crimson miraculously came alive, working around two quick outs at the outset of the inning to bring in five runs and tie the game. Del Conte legged out a single to the pitcher, Allison Scott followed with a walk and Appelbe was hit by a pitch to load the bases for pinch-hitter Ricciardone. The junior ripped a hard ground ball at the Penn shortstop, who was unable to field the ball cleanly, allowing Del Conte and pinch-runner Alyssa Siegmann to score on the error. Olson was up next, and she too bounced one towards the Penn shortstop, and once again the fielder misplayed the ball, permitting a third run to score. Hume provided the icing on the cake, stroking a clean double to the left-centerfield fence, plating two and tying the game at 8-8.

The inning ended on a groundout and the coaches and umpires concluded that it was too dark to begin another inning of action.

The Crimson returns to Soldiers Field tomorrow when it takes on Columbia in another Ivy twinbill.