Softball Pushes For North Division Sweep in Weekend Home-and-Home Against Dartmouth
Harvard has a chance to break the program record for Ivy wins in a season for the third year in a row this weekend (Gil Talbot).
The Harvard softball team squares off against Dartmouth in its final regular-season league series of the season Saturday and Sunday. Harvard will host the Big Green in Saturday's doubleheader, and will travel to Hanover, N.H., for two more games Sunday.
A Step Above
After setting the record for Ivy League wins in a season in 2010 and again in 2011, Harvard enters the final weekend of the 2012 regular season with a chance to set yet another record for Ivy wins in a season.
The 2010 team won 11 of its 12 Ivy North Division games en route to a 17-3 league record and an appearance in the league championship series. In 2011, Harvard swept its Ivy North Division schedule, went 18-2 in the regular season and swept Cornell in the championship series. This season, the Crimson stands at 15-1 in Ivy action with its only loss coming against Cornell; a 10-8 defeat in Ithaca in just its second Ivy game of the season.
Harvard has been dominant in the all-time series with Dartmouth, owning a 48-12 record in 60 career meetings. The Crimson took the first ever matchup, 15-4 in 1981, and owns the longest winning streak in the series at 19 games from 1985-99.
Last season, the Crimson scored at least eight runs on all four matchups with the Big Green, sweeping Dartmouth to clinch the 2011 North Division title. Kasey Lange ripped a solo homerun to back a quality start from Rachel Brown in Game 1 as the Crimson took an 8-1 decision and a five-run sixth inning in Game 2 helped Harvard to a 9-7 victory with Marika Zumbro earning the win in the circle. The teams traded seven-run innings in Game 1 the following day, but home runs by Ellen Macadam '11, Lange and Allison Scott and a 4-for-4 showing by Shelbi Olson led Harvard to a 10-9 win. Lange homered again in Game 2 as the Crimson wrapped up the series with a 10-1 win.
Last Time Out
The Crimson played its final non-conference game of the regular season Thursday against Holy Cross and silenced the Crusaders in a 10-0 win in Worcester, Mass. Harvard took a 5-0 lead through five innings of play and doubled its lead in the top of the seventh when Jess Ferri ripped an RBI double and Adrienne Hume plated a pair with a single to center field. Jane Alexander and Kasey Lange both collected four hits and a pair of RBI in the game while Rachel Brown spun a two-hit shutout, striking out 11 for her 17th win of the season.
The Crimson boasts a pair of players hitting .400 or better, as Jane Alexander leads the team at .442 and Kasey Lange isn't far off at .400. Lange's five home runs and 36 RBI are both team-high totals while Alexander leads the Crimson with nine steals and four triples this season. Shelbi Olson (.345), Stephanie Regan (.336) and Ashley Heritage (.313) are all hitting above .300 on the season and Heritage has eight steals in 10 attempts this year.
Rachel Brown has been rock-solid in the circle for the Crimson, leading the team with a 1.37 earned run average, 148 innings pitched and 207 strikeouts. Laura Ricciardone has also pitched well this season, bringing a 1.83 ERA and 12-6 record into the Dartmouth series.
The Big Green enters the weekend with a 12-23 overall record and 5-11 mark in Ivy play. Kara Curosh has been one of Dartmouth's biggest offensive threats this season, posting a team-best 36 hits, while Noelle Ramirez leads the team with 14 RBI and Kat Hicks has a team-high 11 doubles. Kristen Rumley has been the go-to option in the circle for Dartmouth. She has collected 102 innings pitched this season and leads the team with 131 strikeouts, five wins and a 2.47 ERA.
Harvard will host the Ivy League Championships Series for the second year in a row next weekend at Soldiers Field. The Crimson will take on the South Division champion, which will likely be determined this weekend.