Softball Cruises Past Rhode Island in Doubleheader Sweep

Softball Cruises Past Rhode Island in Doubleheader Sweep

Emily Gusse crushed two home runs Tuesday, leading Harvard to a two-game sweep of URI (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard softball (10-15) compiled 29 runs on 25 hits en route to a pair of five-inning victories Tuesday over visiting Rhode Island (1-20). Harvard has now scored 44 runs in its last three games, posting 15-0 and 14-3 winning scores over the Rams.

In the home-opening series for the Crimson, shortstop Emily Gusse planted two balls over the outfield wall and tallied six RBI to lead the offensive charge. In the circle, Laura Ricciardone improved to 5-5 on the year with the win in game one, while Taylor Cabe notched her second win in game two.

Harvard 15, Rhode Island 0
Alexa Altchek was a perfect 3-for-3 and accounted for five RBI, as the Crimson earned its third shutout of the season with a blistering 15-0 defeat of URI in the home-opener. Gusse and Adrienne Hume each drove in a pair of runs, while Maddy Kaplan and Zoe Galindo both came around to score three times.

Ricciardone allowed just three hits over three innings of work, striking out six along the way. Morgan Groom came on in relief in the fourth, striking out two without allowing a hit in two innings of work. Neither pitcher allowed a walk during their time in the circle.

Rhode Island's best scoring opportunity came in the top of the first, when it led off with two consecutive singles, but Ricciardone got the next three batters out, including a pair of strikeouts to close out the half-inning.

Harvard wasted little time taking control from there, scoring nine runs in the bottom of the first. Katherine Lantz drove in the game's first run when she brought home lead-off hitter Maddy Kaplan with an infield single. A throwing error on the URI catcher during a steal by Altchek gave Andrea Del Conte an opening to score making it 2-0 Harvard. Hume plated her two RBI with a single to center, while Del Conte notched an RBI during her second plate appearance of the frame, driving in Hume with an infield single of her own. With the bases loaded and two outs, Altchek blasted a double to deep centerfield, clearing the bases and giving Harvard a 9-0 advantage after just one inning.

Ricciardone struck out the side in the top of the second to keep URI from gaining any sort of momentum. In the bottom of the third, Harvard tacked on two more runs to push the lead to 11-0. Savannah Bradley raced home from third on a ground ball double play before Altchek stood in and ripped a single back out to center to send in Galindo.

A 1-2-3 inning from relief pitcher Groom gave way to a four-run showing by the Crimson in the bottom of the fourth. Morgan Macchiarulo walked to begin the frame and then trotted around the bags when Gusse sent a rocket over the centerfield wall. Dallas Hogan cashed in an infield-single RBI five batters later and the familiar Altchek singled to left to drive home Kaplan, bringing the Crimson's final tally to 15-0. Groom closed out the win with a fly out and two strikeouts.

Harvard 14, Rhode Island 3
Gusse, Catherine Callaway and Giana Panariello each went 2-for-2 at the plate and drove in a combined seven runs, as Harvard rebound from an early 1-0 deficit to take game two, 14-3. Cabe went three innings, giving up just two hits and one run, while striking out three.

Lauren Klepchick batted in the Rams' first run of the game in the top of the first, doubling to left center to score Ali Summers.

Harvard's response came in the bottom of the second in the form of 11 runs. The first run came four pitches into the inning when Callaway hit her second home run of the year on a 2-1 count. A Gusse RBI double to right center two batters later gave Harvard a 2-1 lead. Hume was hit by a pitch two batters after that with the bases loaded to force home Gusse, prompting a pitching change from URI. Kaplan was the first batter to see the new pitcher, Caitlin Kennedy, and she proceeded to hit a two-RBI single down the right field line. Back-to-back RBI singles by Callaway and Panariello continued the scoring for the Crimson. Jillian Leslie's fly ball to deep center gave Panariello the cushion she needed to score before an error in the next at bat allowed Gusse to cross the plate.

In the third inning, it only took one swing of the bat for the Crimson to add three runs to its count. With Del Conte on third and Panariello on first, Gusse stood in with two down and roped a shot over the left center wall to make it 14-1 Crimson.

URI would not go away without a fight, scoring two runs in the top of fifth, but it'd be as close as they get, suffering the 14-3 defeat.

Harvard is back at it on Soldiers Field Friday afternoon, hosting Cornell for a doubleheader. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. and the games will be shown live on the Ivy League Digital Network weather permitting.