CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-Dartmouth swept a doubleheader against the Harvard softball team, 2-0 and 5-2, to edge the Crimson for the Ivy League North Division championship Sunday afternoon at Soldiers Field.
The Big Green (22-20, 13-7 Ivy League) leapfrogged the Crimson (27-16), which entered the day with a one-game lead in the division standings and was seeking its third title in the three-year history of divisional play. Dartmouth relied on pitchers Hillary Barker, Kat Hicks and Devin Lindsay, who combined to limit Harvard to two runs on nine hits.
It was Senior Day at Soldiers Field, marking the final home games for seniors Hayley Bock and Bailey Vertovez. They were honored in a pregame ceremony before wrapping up their Ivy League careers with a 46-28 record.
Barker was the story of the first game, pitching a four-hit shutout to outduel Crimson pitchers Rachel Brown and Margaux Black. Brown finished with two runs allowed, one earned, on four hits. She struck out four batters and would add seven strikeouts in a Game 2 relief stint to give her 203 on the season and make her the first Harvard pitcher to break the 200-strikeout barrier. Black allowed three hits in 2.2 scoreless innings.
Brown did not allow a hit in her first three innings of work, but Dartmouth took the first lead of the day in the fourth inning. The Big Green loaded the bases without leaving the infield on two hits and a Harvard error, and Alyssa Parker brought home two runs with a single up the middle.
The Big Green threatened again in the fifth, putting two runners on with one out. Black came on in relief to get out of the inning with a pair of ground balls. Dartmouth loaded the bases with three singles in the sixth, but junior third baseman Melissa Schellberg fielded Kirstin Costello's ground ball and threw her out to end the inning.
Harvard put the potential tying runs on base in the final inning as Schellberg led off with a single and Vertovez was hit with a pitch. Third baseman Ashley Gleason got Dartmouth out of trouble by fielding Emily Henderson's bunt and throwing on the run to retire the Harvard sophomore by a step and end the game.
In the second game, Dartmouth used a two-out rally to take the lead in the second inning. Audrey Kolodziej dropped a hit inside the rightfield line, and Meghan Everett followed with a single deep into the shortstop hole. Christy Autin brought them home with a double to left.
The Crimson looked to halve the Big Green lead on a Jennifer Francis single in the bottom of the inning, centerfielder Nikki Yee made a perfect throw home to catch Whitney Shaw trying to score from second base.
The Big Green increased its lead to 4-0 on an Alyssa Parker RBI single and a bases-loaded walk of Everett. In between, Harvard sophomore second baseman Ellen Macadam kept Dartmouth from adding a run when she threw out Molly Khalil trying to score when an infield hit bounced off Macadam's glove. Bock got Harvard out of a bases-loaded jam by throwing from her catcher position to catch Kolodziej straying too far from second base, leading to a pickoff of Leigha Clarkson at third.
Harvard loaded bases on two walks and an error in the fifth inning, bringing the potential tying run to the plate with one out. Hicks got junior Stephanie Krysiak to fly out to left and snagged Macadam's line drive to end the inning.
A Costello double scored Autin to make it 5-0 in the top of the sixth.
Back-to-back doubles by Shaw to the right-center gap and by Schellberg bouncing over the head of Gleason got Harvard on the board in the bottom of the frame. Lindsay came in to pitch before Francis brought Schellberg home with a ground ball to trim the deficit to three runs. Hicks finished with two runs allowed on five hits. Lindsay did not allow a hit in two innings of work, retiring the Crimson in order in the seventh to close.
Junior Dana Roberts started Game 2 for Harvard, allowing two runs on four hits in two innings. Freshman Julia Moore and Black pitched the third inning before Brown held the Big Green scoreless over the final four frames, giving Harvard hope for a comeback. She recorded five of her final six outs by strikeout, fanning the side in the fifth.
Four different players accounted for Harvard's four hits in Game
1, and five accounted for the five base knocks in the nightcap.
Schellberg led the Crimson with two hits.
The Crimson is scheduled to complete its season with a single game Thursday at Boston University.