Softball Begins 2016 Campaign with Victories Over Presbyterian and St. Bonaventure

Softball Begins 2016 Campaign with Victories Over Presbyterian and St. Bonaventure

Taylor Cabe pitched the Crimson to victory vs. Presbyterian Friday (Envision Sports Media).

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Harvard softball (2-0) got off to a good start to the 2016 season, posting wins over Presbyterian and St. Bonaventure on the first day of the JU Green and Gold Classic in Jacksonville, Florida. Harvard's wins over the Blue Hose and Bonnies marked the first wins ever in the first-ever meetings over those teams in program history. The Crimson will wrap up its trip tomorrow with a 2 p.m. meeting with Albany and a 7 p.m. matchup against the host Jacksonville Dolphins.

Harvard 7, Presbyterian 2
The Harvard softball team started off the 2016 season with a 7-2 victory over Presbyterian (4-4). Sophomore Maddy Kaplan led the offense with three hits and three RBI, while freshman Elizabeth Shively and junior Giana Panariello drove in two runs each. Sophomore Taylor Cabe picked up the win in the circle, tossing 4.1 innings, allowing four hits and two runs, while striking out four.

The Crimson began the scoring in the bottom of the second, taking a 3-0 lead. Harvard loaded the bases with the first three batters on two Presbyterian errors and a bunt single from Rhianna Rich. Two batters later, Kaplan drove in her first run of the day with a single through the left side. Next up, Panariello launched a double out to left field to bring around two more Crimson runs.

Presbyterian went three-up, three-down in the top of the third with Cabe striking out one and inducing two groundouts. Harvard's offense tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third when Shively's single to right center plated two of her rookie classmates, Meagan Lantz and Erin Lockhart.

The Blue Hose got on the board in the top of the fifth inning, cutting the gap to 5-2. Kelsie Sanchez and Hope Rogers registered the two RBI for Presbyterian, but just as soon as they were on the board, Harvard put two more of its own up in the bottom half of the inning. Rich doubled and Lantz produced an infield single, bringing Kaplan to the dish with one out. A double to left center brought in both base runners and pushed the score to 7-2. Sarah Smith came on in relief and pitched the final 2.2 innings for Harvard, allowing just one hit and striking out two to earn the save.

Harvard 5, St. Bonaventure 2
After going down 2-0 in the first inning, Harvard rallied to beat St. Bonaventure (0-6), 5-3, in its second game of the day. Senior Morgan Groom threw four strong innings, striking out five, to collect the win, while freshman Kathleen Duncan was equally as impressive over the last three frames, allowing just one run on four hits to garner the save in her collegiate debut.

At the plate, Rich recorded two hits (a triple and homer) and scored twice for the second-straight game, while also adding two RBI to lead the Harvard offense against the Bonnies. Kaplan and Savannah Bradley each had one RBI.

St. Bonaventure's Emily Belfield gave the Bonnies an early 2-0 lead when she hit her first home run of the season with one out in the bottom of the first.

Following a scoreless second inning, the Crimson began chipping away at the deficit, scoring its first run in the top of the third. Rich tripled with one out and scored during the next at bat when Kaplan grounded out to the second baseman.

The fourth innings passed without incident on either side, but in the fifth, Harvard scored two runs to take the lead, 3-2.  The freshman Rich continued her breakout day for the Crimson, sending a long ball over the right field wall with two outs. The first home run of Rich's career was a two-run effort, scoring Zoe Galindo who had singled earlier in the inning.

Harvard added a pair of runs to its lead in the sixth, as Lantz doubled to left center to drive in Panariello and then scored herself later in the frame on a fielding error by St. Bonaventure's third baseman. The Bonnies got one run back in the bottom of the seventh on a Kelli Rohan RBI single, but 5-3 was where the final game score would end.