Morgan Groom was one out away from a no-hitter against Brown Saturday (Gil Talbot).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The freshman pitching tandem of Morgan Groom and Jamie Halula had one of its best days of the 2013 season Saturday, posting two complete-game victories in a doubleheader sweep of Ivy League North Division foe Brown, 4-0 and 3-1. Harvard remains tied atop the North Division standings with Dartmouth at 10-4, while Brown slips to 1-13 in league action. The win is also Harvard's 10th in a row, pushing its overall record to 20-17.
Groom got the only support she would need in the first inning with Stephanie Regan beginning the game with a double to left. She moved to third on a passed ball in the next at-bat and scored easily when team RBI leader Kasey Lange doubled to left for the game's first run. Despite a pair of hit batsmen, Groom was methodical in the first two innings, holding the Bears hitless. A leadoff single by Shelbi Olson in the top of the third started another rally for the Crimson, and she quickly came around when Lange blasted her 10th home run of the season, giving Harvard a 3-0 lead.
The freshman hurler sat down the Bears in order in the third and fourth, and a sacrifice bunt from Regan with one out in the Harvard fourth brought home Zoe Galindo to push the lead to 4-0. A pair of walks were the only hiccups for Groom through the fifth and sixth, and a groundout and a strikeout in the seventh put the rookie one out away from a no-hitter. Pinch-hitter Jamie Pospishil was Brown's last hope and the fellow freshman popped a single to left field for the hosts' only hit of the game.
Groom ended with a one-hit shutout, striking out seven and walking three in her seventh win of the season. Lange led all hitters with three RBI, and she and Olson had a pair of hits each in Game 1. Harvard also swiped five bases in the opener, led by Katherine Lantz and Haley Davis who had a pair each.
Regan started the second game in similar fashion, doubling to left center and advancing to third on an infield single by Olson. Lange picked up her fourth RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly to right, plating Regan for another early lead. Just like her teammate in Game 1, Halula befuddled the Brown batters through the first two innings of Game 2, allowing just a single up the middle and no runs. The hosts finally got on the board in the third when Tris Chavez launched a two-out solo home run to knot the score at 1-1 after three full frames.
Both pitchers bore down through the fourth, fifth and sixth, as Brown could not muster a hit during that span and Harvard managed just two. With one out in the top of the seventh, Regan roped her second double of the game, and third of the day, to give the guests a runner in scoring position. Olson promptly traded places with her, punching a double to left-center and swinging the lead back in Harvard's favor. A Lange fly out allowed Olson to move to third, and the junior captain came home on a while pitch for an insurance run. A one-out single was all the Bears could produce in their final at-bat, ending the game 3-1 in favor of Harvard.
Halula picked up her team-leading ninth win of the season, striking out three batters and scattering three hits on the day. Regan sparked the offense with a pair of doubles and two runs scored, while Olson extended her hitting streak to eight games and posted her fourth-straight multi-hit effort.
The Crimson looks for its second Ivy North Division sweep in as many weeks when it takes on the Bears in another doubleheader tomorrow in Providence.