Harvard will play its first home game of the season Tuesday against Boston College (Gil Talbot).
After 22 games on the road or at neutral sites, the Harvard softball team will play its 2014 home opener Tuesday when it welcomes Boston College to Soldiers Field for a non-conference doubleheader. It will be the first of three straight home dates for the Crimson.
The Eagles come into the midweek matchup with the upper hand in the all-time series, leading by a 36-14 margin. Recent history has seen BC take the majority of the matchups with the Crimson, as Harvard has won just twice in the past nine meetings and has dropped the last four contests. Harvard's last win over the Eagles came March 7, 2010, a 4-0 shutout. Last year, the Eagles scored four runs in the third en route to a 6-4 victory, despite a 3-for-4 performance at the plate from Stephanie Regan '13 and a two-run home run from Kasey Lange.
The weather was uncooperative during Harvard's Ivy League opening weekend and the Crimson managed to play just four innings in a washed-out weekend at Princeton and Cornell. The games will be made up at a later date that has yet to be determined.
The Crimson closed its spring break trip in fine style March 22, picking up wins over Cal State Bakersfield (8-2) and Pacific (7-1). Senior third baseman Kasey Lange provided all the offense Harvard would need against the Roadrunners, bashing a pair of home runs in the game and driving in four runs while scoring three. Laura Ricciardone earned the win for Harvard in the circle with a six-inning outing, surrendering just four hits and two earned runs. Rookie Taylor Cabe kept the Pacific bats at bay in the second game, allowing just one run and four hits in a complete-game effort. Katherine Lantz drove in four of Harvard's seven runs and Shelbi Olson, Lange and Emily Gusse all had a pair of hits in the game.
About The Crimson
Kasey Lange is once again the driving force behind the Crimson offense, as she leads the team in batting average (.347), RBI (18), home runs (3) and runs scored (16). Her 18 RBI are the most of any Ivy player, and she is tied with fellow senior captain Shelbi Olson for the team lead in hits with 26. Emily Gusse had provided some nice pop for the Crimson with 12 RBI to date and Andrea Del Conte leads the team with eight stolen bases in nine attempts.
The 1-2 pitching punch of Laura Ricciardone and Taylor Cabe has proven to be effective, as the two have combined to throw 124 of the 159 innings Harvard has played. Ricciardone boasts a 2.42 earned-run average and 39 strikeouts, while Cabe is close behind with a 2.44 ERA and 26 K's. Sophomore Morgan Groom has also been strong in her seven appearances, holding a 2.13 ERA and 26 punch-outs.
Scouting Boston College
The Eagles got off to a strong start in their 2014 campaign, collecting four wins in five contests at a season-opening tournament in Tempe, Ariz. Three more wins came on a trip to Georgia and Florida, and BC was a perfect 5-0 at the South Florida Tournament March 7-9, collecting wins over St. John's, Southern Illinois, Villanova, Cleveland State and Northwestern. Conference play has been tough on the Eagles, as they have a 2-6 record in league games and are winless in their last six.
Megan Cooley has been the driving force behind the BC offense so far this season, leading the team with a .418 batting average, 38 hits and 14 steals. Tory Speer has done well as the team's run producer, leading all players with 23 RBI, seven doubles, six home runs, 47 total bases and a .671 slugging percentage. Nicole D'Argento, aside from being among the team leaders in hits and batting average, has also proven to be the go-to arm in the circle, leading the squad with a 2.81 earned-run average and 103 strikeouts in 114.2 innings pitched.
The Crimson continues its homestand this weekend when it hosts Penn Friday and Columbia Saturday in a pair of Ivy doubleheaders.