HONOLULU, HI – The Harvard softball team (7-4) dropped its opening game of the Rainbow Wahine Classic, 4-3, to Connecticut (7-10) at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium in Honolulu. Junior outfielder Maddy Kaplan with 2-for-3 at the plate and Harvard pitchers Sarah Smith and Taylor Smith combined to allow just three hits on the day.
Smith started the game for the Crimson, and surrendered the only hits of her start in the opening inning. Connecticut's Taylor Townsend hit a two-run home run in the frame to put the Huskies up 2-0.
Harvard responded in the top half of the second inning with two runs to tie the game. The Crimson loaded the bases with one out, and Jillian Leslie was brought in as a pinch hitter. Leslie hit a single to right field, plating the first Harvard run, then Rhianna Rich followed with another run-scoring single to tie the game off of new UConn pitcher Chelsea Eckert, who replaced Jill Stockley.
The game remained tied until the top of the fifth inning, when Harvard took a 3-2 lead on a sacrifice fly from sophomore catcher Elizabeth Shively.
UConn responded in the bottom half of the inning with two runs to take the lead for good. UConn put runners on second and third with nobody out, and scored both runs on a sacrifice bunt from Townsend, followed by an RBI single by Taylor Smith.
Senior pitcher Taylor Cabe worked out of further trouble by inducing infield pop-ups from the next two UConn batters. But Harvard was unable to mount a rally in the remaining innings.
The Crimson will take on host Hawaii at 12 a.m. ET on Wednesday (March 15)