Harvard vs. Hawaii
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard softball team heads out to Hawaii for seven games as part of the Rainbow Wahine Classic, hosted by the University of Hawaii. The Crimson will open the event with a game against UConn on Tuesday (March 14) at 9:30 p.m. ET. Harvard will also play Hawaii (twice), Marist, Purdue (twice), and Connecticut for a second time during the event.
A Good Start to Spring Trip
Harvard (7-3) opened a stretch of 12 games in nine days by winning four of five games in California at the Long Beach St./Cal St. Fullerton Tournament, including victories over San Diego St. (W, 5-4), Cal St. Fullerton (W, 2-1), Long Beach St. (W, 2-1), and Longwood (W, 3-2).
Sophomore third baseman Erin Lockhart was a force for the Crimson, recording a team best four RBIs and .563 on base percentage. She had hits in four of the five games, batting .364 in five games, including two go-ahead home runs. Lockhart earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors for her efforts. Sophomore pitcher Kathleen Duncan was excellent in the circle, recording a win and two saves with a 2.21 ERA in 12 2/3 innings pitched. Duncan was Ivy League Pitcher of the Week.
Early Success In The Circle
Early on this season, Harvard has been led by strong pitching performances, as the Crimson has allowed three runs or less in seven of its first 10 games this season. Harvard has three of the top five pitchers in the Ivy League based on ERA, with Kathleen Duncan (1-1, 1.42 ERA, 1st) and Sarah Smith (3-0, 2.10 ERA, 2nd) leading the way. Taylor Cabe (2-2, 2.95 ERA, 5th) has been excellent as well.
Harvard is set to play 45 games with three early season tournaments on the West Coast and beyond, as well as 13 home games at Soldiers Field.
The Crimson begin the season with trips to Florida, California, and Hawaii to compete in tournaments hosted by Eastern Michigan, Long Beach State/Cal-Fullerton, and Hawaii. Harvard opens the season at the EMU Madeira Beach Invitational from Feb. 24-26. Then Harvard will head west for the Long Beach State/Cal-Fullerton Invitational from March 10-12. The Crimson will head further west from there for the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu from March 14-18.
Harvard returns to the East Coast the following weekend for an event hosted by Marist on March 25-26, where the Crimson will play two games each against Hartford and Marist. The team's home opener will be a non-conference contest against Holy Cross on March 28. Harvard will round out its non-conference schedule with a game at home against BU on April 4, and a road contest at Bryant on April 11. The Crimson kick off Ivy League play on March 31 with two games at Penn.
COMPLETE SOFTBALL SCHEDULE
Harvard will have a lot of experience when it takes the field for the first time this weekend. The Crimson returns 19 letterwinners from a season ago, including six seniors, and 13 of the 24 student-athletes who are sophomores or juniors. Five freshmen join the team with two hailing from California, with the other three calling Missouri, Texas and Virginia home. The class features one pitcher, one catcher, one infielder, one pitcher/infielder and a utility player.
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Harvard's roster is comprised of players from all over the U.S. with 14 states represented. The stretch of the Crimson reaches as far west as Hawaii with sophomore Nicki Nishizawa, as south as Florida with three athletes calling the Sunshine State home and as close to Cambridge as Connecticut with junior Morgan Macchiarulo.
2016 Season Recap
The Crimson posted a 29-17 overall record last season and a 16-4 mark in the Ivy League which was tops in the North Division. An infusion of youth, good pitching, plus an impressive offensive season from sophomore Maddy Kaplan lifted Harvard to its sixth Ivy League North Division Championship and first since 2012. Kaplan, the Ivy League batting champion (.472), led the way for Harvard's offensive, while freshman Rhianna Rich, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, led the conference in hits (61) and had a .433 average in league games. Senior Morgan Groom was outstanding (10-4, 2.30 ERA) in the circle for the Crimson, earning Ivy League Pitcher of the Year honors.
All-Ivy Selections Back For More
Harvard placed seven players on All-Ivy League teams in 2016, and will lose just two to graduation – Morgan Groom and second team All-Ivy selection Zoe Galindo, who was Harvard's starting centerfielder and co-captain last year. Returning for the Crimson will be three All-Ivy first team selections – senior second baseman and co-captain Giana Panariello, sophomore third baseman Meagan Lantz, and junior outfielder Maddy Kaplan. Second team All-Ivy selections – sophomore shortstop Rhianna Rich and sophomore catcher Elizabeth Shively – will also lead an experienced Harvard team.
The Harvard softball team was recognized last year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) as one of the Top-10 Academic Teams in NCAA Division I, posting the eighth-highest GPA nationally.
Last season, the Crimson posted a 3.590 GPA over the fall and spring semester of 2015-16, the highest mark of any school in the Ivy League. Harvard's accomplishment stands out in the Ivy League, as the Crimson joined Yale (40th) as the only conference institutions among the top-50 in the nation in team GPA. In addition, 15 student-athletes from the 2015-16 team were honored as NFCA All-America Scholar Athletes for earning GPAs of at least 3.5 last year. Harvard's 15 selections match last year's number as the most the Crimson have had in recent years. Harvard outpaced the Ivy League with Columbia having nine selections as the second-highest Ancient Eight school on the list.
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The Huskies (6-10) are coming off a busy weekend in the Stanford Invitational, where they picked up their biggest win of the season against Grand Canyon. Freshman pitcher Katie Koshes was masterful in California, allowing just one run on eight hits in 13 innings pitched over the weekend. UConn's pitching staff in general has been strong this season, posting a team ERA of 2.30 in 103.2 innings of work – while recording a 90-36 strikeout to walk ratio. Three players have ERAs under 3.00, including Koshes' team-best 1.53.
Connecticut leads the all-time series against Harvard, 2-1. The two teams have not met since the 2001 season, with Harvard winning that game (W, 3-0).
Winners of six of their last seven, and nine of 11, Hawaii (15-9) enters its own tournament with plenty of momentum. Another strong pitching team, Hawaii has a 2.63 team ERA, with Dana Thomsen (6-1, 1.74 ERA, three shutouts) and Brittany Hitchcock (8-7, 2.46 ERA, four shutouts) leading the way. First baseman Heather Morales (.328 batting average, 5 HRs, 17 RBI) is Hawaii's top power threat at the plate.
Hawaii leads the all-time series 1-0, with the Rainbow Warriors winning the lone meeting (W, 5-2) during the 2000 season.
Marist (9-8) will be playing its second tournament in Hawaii after dropping four games at the University of Hawaii Spring Fling on March 10-12. The Red Foxes feature one of the top offenses in the country early on this season, batting .317 as a team. Leading the way is sophomore outfielder Casey Page, who has a .425 average with four RBI and four stolen bases. Senior catcher Rebecca Freeman leads the team with 17 RBIs.
Harvard leads the all-time series 2-0, winning two games against the Red Foxes during the 2003 season.
Purdue (7-17) is coming off a successful trip to South Florida, winning four of five games at the USF Under Armour Showcase. The Boilermakers are one of the most aggressive teams on the basepaths in the country, averaging 1.58 stolen bases per game (54th, NCAA). Sophomore catcher Mallory Baker (.312 BA, 11 RBI) is Purdue's top offensive threat, while sophomore pitcher Maddie Damon (3-6, 3.54 ERA) is the team's top pitcher early on this season.
Harvard and Purdue have never met in softball.