Ashley Heritage extends towards first base Friday night against No. 10 Arizona (Photo Courtesy: J and L Photography).
TUCSON, Ariz. – In its first game of the 2011 NCAA Regional, the Harvard softball team hung tough but couldn't figure out opposing pitcher Kenzie Fowler as the Crimson dropped a 10-0 decision to host No. 8 Arizona Friday night at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. The loss moves the Crimson into the losers bracket of the regional, where it will face Texas Tech which dropped a 9-0 decision to New Mexico State in the first game of the day.
The Crimson showed some life right out of the gate as Ellen Macadam worked a walk and Stephanie Regan beat out a chopper that the shortstop bobbled to start the game. Kasey Lange followed with a base hit to left field to load the bases but two strikeouts and a groundout to second killed the Crimson rally in the first.
After the first batter lined out, Arizona ripped back-to-back singles and moved the runners to second and third on a passed ball. Stacie Chambers followed with a chopper to first that brought in the Wildcats' first run on an RBI groundout. A walk put another runner on for the hosts and Kristen Arriola brought both of them in with a hard double down the leftfield line. Karissa Buchanan plated Arriola with a single through the middle to give Arizona a 4-0 lead after one.
Harvard starter Rachel Brown settled down in the second, sitting down the Wildcats in order and picking up two strikeouts. The hosts tacked on another run in the third, as a Lini Koria double to center field plating Brigette Del Ponte.
The Crimson got something cooking in the fourth inning when Ashley Heritage reached base, hustling down the line and causing confusion among the Wildcat fielders with a headfirst slide into first base. Marika Zumbro followed with a fielder's choice and Jane Alexander punched a chopper in between the pitcher and first baseman and ended up on base after beating the second baseman's throw to first. Shelbi Olson was up next and lifted a pitch to left, but the Arizona outfielder settled under it and ended the Crimson threat.
Stacie Chambers pounded a home run to right field to add to the Arizona lead as the Wildcats took a 6-0 lead after five full innings. The Wildcats loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth and Koria turned on an inside pitch, blasting a shot over the left field wall to end the game after six innings, 10-0.
Regan, Lange and Heritage all had hits for Harvard and Brown picked up four strikeouts in the loss. Harvard will face the Red Raiders Saturday at 4:30 at Hillenbrand Stadium.