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Softball Falls to Arkansas, 9-4, Florida Gulf Coast, 3-1, In Final Day of FCGU Tourney

Kasey Lange belted a homerun for Harvard in the loss to Florida Gulf Coast Sunday (Gil Talbot).

FORT MYERS, Fla. –
Despite a strong 2-1 start to the Florida Gulf Coast Round Robin tournament, the Harvard softball team dropped a pair of games on its final day of competition, falling to Arkansas, 9-4, and host Florida Gulf Coast, 3-1, Sunday. The Crimson ended the tournament with a 2-3 mark on the season.

The Crimson faced a powerful Razorbacks team in the first game of the day and made a statement by jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead. Shelbi Olson led off the game with a single through the right side and Katherine Lantz reached base after getting hit by a pitch. RBI specialist Kasey Lange delivered from the third spot in the lineup, pounding a double to center that plated Olson and Lantz for a speedy 2-0 edge. The next batter, Emily Gusse, smacked a single through the right side and Lange came home on an error by the right fielder.

After Arkansas failed to score in the bottom of the first, Harvard tacked another run on in the second. Giana Panariello drew a leadoff walk and Harvard loaded the bases thanks to another Olson single and a hit-by-pitch by Lange. Gusse tallied the RBI in the next at-bat, getting hit by an offering to push the Harvard lead to 4-0. Arkansas began to chip away at the Harvard lead, getting on the board with an RBI single to right-center in the second and moving within one thanks to a Kasey Fagan two-run double in the third. The Razorbacks managed to finally knot the score in the fifth, bringing in a run when a batter was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. After no response from the Crimson in the sixth, Arkansas exploded for five runs in the bottom of the frame, pounding three hits and capitalizing on two Harvard errors to grab a 9-4 lead. The Crimson went down in order in the seventh to end the game at 9-4.

Olson led the Crimson at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a run scored and a pair of steals. Taylor Cabe took the loss in the circle, going the distance for Harvard and surrendering four earned runs.

The final game for the Crimson featured an early power display with Lange launching her first homerun of the season in the top of the first to give Harvard a quick 1-0 lead over FCGU. A sacrifice fly from the hosts' Chelsea Zgrabik leveled the score in the bottom of the inning, and from there, the pitchers took over. Harvard's Laura Ricciardone was effective against the FGCU hitters, allowing just two hits over the next three frames, while Harvard managed a pair of hits of its own against Shelby Morgan.

The hosts pulled away in the bottom of the fifth when Makensie Mcavoy drove an RBI single to left and Kirsten Bembnowski lifted a sacrifice fly to push the score to 3-1. Harvard threatened with a hit and an FGCU error in the sixth, but couldn't push another run across in the 3-1 loss. Ricciardone scattered five hits and struck out four, taking the loss for Harvard while five different Crimson hitters recorded a hit in the game.

The Crimson heads south to Louisiana State next weekend for the LSU tournament in Baton Rouge, kicking off its stay with games against Lamar and host LSU.