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Brown’s Two-Hit Shutout Helps Softball to Season-Opening Split at Miken Classic

Rachel Brown threw a two-hit shutout to lead Harvard to a win in its 2011 season opener (Gil Talbot).

BOCA RATON, Fla. –
The Harvard softball team kicked off its 2011 campaign Friday, splitting games with Seton Hall and Florida Atlantic on day one of the Miken Classic on the campus of FAU. The Crimson won its season-opener against Seton Hall, 2-0, and suffered a 4-1 loss to FAU in its second game of the day.

Junior pitcher Rachel Brown picked up right where she left off after earning first-team All-Ivy League accolades as a sophomore, keeping the Pirates off the scoreboard in the season-opening victory. Brown twirled a complete-game shutout, allowing just a pair of hits and a pair of walks, while striking out 14.

Harvard broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning, where co-captain Emily Henderson led off with a single through the middle and advanced to second on a Whitney Shaw sacrifice bunt. Rookie cleanup hitter Kasey Lange banged a ball to second that was too hot to handle, allowing Henderson to come home with the game's first run. The Henderson-Lange duo combined again for Harvard's second run, pushing the lead to 2-0 in the sixth. Henderson started the inning with a walk and after moving to second on another Shaw sacrifice, Lange roped an RBI double down the right field line, plating Henderson and picking up the first hit of her collegiate career. Brown sat down the Pirates in the top of the seventh with three swinging strikeouts to seal the 2-0 win.

A pair of first-inning runs proved to be enough in game two as the host Owls topped Harvard, 4-1, in the 4 p.m. game. Down 2-0 in the third inning, Lange once again sparked the Crimson offense, picking up her second RBI of the day. Ellen Macadam singled through the left side to start the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch and Lange drove a single through the middle to plate Macadam with Harvard's lone run.

Freshman Laura Ricciardone took the loss in her collegiate debut, going six innings and allowing four runs on nine hits while fanning two FAU hitters. Macadam went 3-for-4 from the plate with a run scored while Shaw and Jane Alexander each had two hits in the loss.

Harvard is back in action at the Miken Classic tomorrow as it takes on Michigan State at 4 p.m., and Stony Brook at 6 p.m.