Ivy North Division Battle Begins For Softball With Pair of Twinbills Against Yale
Harvard looks to gain ground in the Ivy North Division standings this weekend against the Bulldogs (Photo: Mike Slade).
Ivy League North Division play begins Saturday as the Harvard softball team hosts archrival Yale in the first of two doubleheaders this weekend.
Live video streaming is available for all four games against Yale this weekend. To access the Harvard video portal, click here.
The Crimson will celebrate its senior class prior to Sunday's doubleheader against the Bulldogs. The team will recognize the four members of the class of 2013: Jessica Ferri, Olivia Piccione, Stephanie Regan and Kassy Shiotani.
Harvard holds a significant edge in the all-time series with the Bulldogs with a 54-18 record in 72 career matchups. The teams first met in 1981 with the Crimson capturing the inaugural game, 5-3, in Cambridge, Mass. The Crimson is currently riding the second-longest winning streak in series history, having captured the last 14 contests against Yale. Last season, Harvard earned a quartet of decisive wins on the road against Yale, sweeping the first doubleheader 14-1 (5) and 11-2, and the second twinbill 15-1 and 9-2.
Harvard finds itself right in the thick of the race for the Ivy League North Division title, entering the weekend with a 4-4 league record, good for a tie for first with Dartmouth in the division standings. In its last time out, Harvard used a late-inning rally to push past local foe Boston University, 2-1, at Soldiers Field. Freshman Jamie Halula earned the win in the circle for Harvard, and Haley Davis had a pair of hits for the victors.
Kasey Lange is one of the hottest hitters in the Ivy League, entering the weekend tied for the league lead in RBI (26) and second in slugging percentage (.682) and home runs (8). Shelbi Olson leads all Harvard players in batting average in league games at .444, and is the toughest person to strikeout in the Ivy League, having been K'd just once in eight Ivy contests.
Freshman Morgan Groom boasts the sixth-best earned-run average among qualified league pitchers at 2.70, and is sixth in the league with 55 strikeouts in 77.2 innings.
Despite an 8-22 overall record, the Bulldogs are well-positioned in the Ivy League standings heading into the quartet of contests against the Crimson, just one game back of the division leaders. Yale split a doubleheader with Wagner Wednesday in its last time out.
Sophomore catcher Sarah Onorato comes into the Harvard matchup as one of the league's best hitters, leading the Bulldogs with 44 hits, a .440 batting average, 13 doubles, 10 home runs and 19 RBI. Rookie Brittany Labbadia has been a presence on the base paths with a team-high seven steals in eight tries this year.
Chelsey Dunham has the pitched the most innings of anyone on the roster with 86.1, and holds a 4.22 earned-run average and 41 strikeouts this season. She also has a team-best four victories to her credit.
The lengthy home stand comes to a close when Harvard hosts Quinnipiac in a pair of games April 18 at Soldiers Field.