ATHENS, Ga. – Harvard softball (23-17) gave No. 7 Georgia (44-11) a tough fight to begin the 2018 NCAA Regional Tournament, but the Crimson was unable to hang on, falling 6-2, on Friday afternoon.
Junior shortstop Rhianna Rich worked a lead off walk against Georgia's Mary Wilson Avant to begin the game, however the Crimson could not capitalize on the free pass. In the home half the first, with runners in scoring position and already a trio of runs put up by the Bulldogs, Rich came through once again. The southern California native prevented more runs from crossing the plate, making a diving catch in shallow center field for the third out.
The Georgia skies opened up with two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the second inning. Coming out of a two hour and 31 minute weather delay, junior left-hander Katie Duncan escaped the two-out jam getting Justice Milz to line out to right field. It sparked the Crimson offense as Harvard pushed across a pair of runs a half inning later.
In her first at-bat of the game, junior center fielder Kaitlyn Schiffhauer lead off with a walk before moving up 60 feet on a wild pitch. Three batters later after Kaplan reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, junior third baseman Erin Lockhart laced a two-out, opposite field triple to cut the Bulldog lead to 3-2.
The Crimson was aided by solid defense in the home half of the third. With runners at the corners and one out, Georgia freshman Jessica Morgan hit a grounder to third, instinctively Lockhart picked it up and fired home to retire the lead runner, Alyssa DiCarlo.
Georgia was able to extend its lead to 4-2 scoring once in the bottom of the third before pushing the Bulldog lead to four with two runs in the fifth. But Harvard was not going away quietly.
In the top of the sixth and seventh innings, the Crimson put the lead-off batters on base, but was unable to get past second base against Bulldog relief pitcher, Lauren Mathis.
- Junior third baseman Erin Lockhart went 1-3 with a triple and two RBI.
- Junior center fielder Kaitlyn Schiffhauer went 1-2 with a walk.
- Junior right-hander Sarah Smith tossed one inning of relief allowing one hit, while striking out one.
Harvard faces California in an elimination game tomorrow afternoon, May 19 at 2:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the ESPN App.