Softball Powers Its Way to Season-Opening 8-0 Victory Over Wichita State

Softball Powers Its Way to Season-Opening 8-0 Victory Over Wichita State

Laura Ricciardone pitched a two-hit shutout in the 8-0 win over Wichita State Friday (Gil Talbot).

MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. – The 2015 Harvard softball season (1-0) got off to a strong start Friday evening in Madeira Beach, Fla., toppling Wichita State (6-5), 8-0, in its first matchup of the EMU Madeira Beach Spring Invitational.

Laura Ricciardone had a great game, both in the circle and at the plate. The senior tossed an efficient two-hit, one-walk shutout, while also jacking a two-run double in the fourth. Maddy Kaplan had a stellar debut for the Crimson, going 2-for-3 with a home run. Sophomore Catherin Callaway also hit her first collegiate homer, while senior Emily Gusse went 3-for-3 with one run scored.

Harvard's first inning of action included four singles and a run, putting it ahead 1-0 before Wichita State took its first at bat. Kaplan, Katherine Lantz and Gusse each reached on their own hits, but it would be Haley Davis' base knock to left that scored Lantz.

The Crimson added another run to its count in the second frame, this time using the long ball. Callaway ripped her first career home run with one out, putting the Crimson ahead 2-0.

A scoreless third frame gave way to an active fourth for the Crimson. Gusse got things started with a triple, while Davis followed with a walk and a steal to give Harvard runners on second and third. Starting pitcher Laura Ricciardone helped her own cause, doubling to bring in both baserunners. Dallas Hogan came on to pinch run for Ricciardone, earning a double steal with Jillian Leslie to give the Crimson two more runners in scoring position. Wild pitches from Wichita State hurler Kelsey Sterneker allowed both to score and extended the Harvard lead to 6-0.

The fourth inning continued with Andrea Del Conte earning a two-out walk, bringing Kaplan back to the dish. The freshman from Santa Monica, California made it a memorable plate visit, jacking her first collegiate homer and making it an 8-0 advantage for the Crimson before Wichita State could get out of the inning.

Ricciardone came back out and continued to shut down the Shockers over the fourth and fifth to clinch the lopsided victory for the Crimson. Harvard is back at it Saturday, taking on Villanova at 4 p.m., followed by UAB at 6:30 p.m.