Softball Hosts In-State Rivals Boston College and UMass This Week

Softball Hosts In-State Rivals Boston College and UMass This Week

Katherine Lantz and the Crimson have won six straight games (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard softball (14-15) is scheduled to host a trio of home games this week to wrap up a nine-game stint at Soldiers Field. On Tuesday, the Crimson host crosstown foe Boston College for a pair of games beginning at the 3 p.m. followed by a single game on Thursday against UMass at 4 p.m.

NOTE: Tuesday's doubleheader against BC was originally scheduled to be played at Chestnut Hill, but adverse playing conditions at Shea Softball Field forced a change of venue.

The Crimson is yet to lose at Soldiers Field, winning their last six games all at its home venue. Doubleheader sweeps over Rhode Island, Cornell and Princeton highlighted a strong first week of home games for Harvard, improving to 14-15 overall and 5-3 against the Ancient Eight.

Harvard's run differential during its recent six-game win streak stands at 49-8 and includes shutouts of URI and Cornell. Shortstop Emily Gusse led the Crimson offense with nine RBI, doubling her season total, and .563 average at the dish. She jacked two home runs and three doubles en route to posting a 1.125 slugging mark. For the year, Gusse is hitting .289 and is the only player to start all 29 games.

Outfielder Andrea Del Conte also had a strong week at the plate, going 8-for-16 (.500), while also walking four times to post a .600 on-base percentage. Speedy on the base paths, Del Conte was 6-for-7 on steal attempts to bring her season total to a team-best 15. Alexa Altchek was great off the bench, posting hits in three of her four pinch-hitting opportunities, driving in six runs.

As successful as the bats were for Harvard, the pitching was equally as effective. Laura Ricciardone improved to 8-5 on the year and dropped her ERA to 2.47 after not allowing an earned run in 19.1 innings of work last week. She earned four of Harvard's wins and gave up just 16 hits. Taylor Cabe earned Harvard's other two wins, pitching 12.1 frames in which she allowed just one earned run. Hitters struggled against Cabe all week as she limited opposing hitters to a .152 batting average.

Harvard trails BC in the all-time series, 36-16, but came away with two wins last season, by scores of 4-2 and 4-3. Prior to last season's doubleheader sweep, the Eagles had won 19-of-21 meetings dating back to the 2000 campaign. Harvard and BC first met on the softball diamond on April 17, 1982, splitting a doubleheader.

Harvard and UMass are meeting for the first time since 2006 and the first time at Soldiers Field since 2004. The Minutewomen have been an unsolvable conundrum for the Crimson, going 0-19-1 in 20 meetings against its cross-state opponent. These teams last met on April 20, 2006 with UMass taking a pair of shutout victories.

The Eagles are one game over .500 at 16-15, but just 1-8 against its conference opponents from the ACC. Over the weekend, BC opened its series at Virginia with a 9-7 win, but went on to lose 3-1 and 7-4 to drop to 2-6 in its last eight games.

Allyson Frei has racked up 125.2 innings in the circle for BC, playing her way to a 12-10 overall record and a 3.29 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting .252 against Frei, while she has sent 138 hitters back to the dugout via strikeouts. Jessica Dreswick has the lowest ERA on staff at 2.21, but has just 25.1 innings pitched to her name.

Taylor Coroneos edges Annie Murphy for the team-lead in batting average, .321 to .317, respectively. Murphy is one stolen base shy of the team-lead for stolen bases with 14, trailing Megan Cooley in that category. Jordan Chimento has the most RBI in the Eagles' lineup with 20, but six players have at least 10 this year.

Winners in three of its last four games, the Minutewomen bring an 8-16 overall record to Cambridge Thursday. UMass topped Yale, 16-6, to kick-off April and then took two out of three from George Washington, including a 4-0 shutout to cap the series.

Senior infielder Quianna Diaz-Patterson leads not only UMass, but the entire Atlantic-10 Conference with a .521 batting average. A power bat, Diaz Patterson has six homers, two triples and six doubles, leading to a .915 slugging percentage and 16 RBI. Tara Klee has driven in a team-best 20 runs and is tied with Diaz Patterson for the team-lead with six long balls.

As a team, UMass has just 12 stolen bases in 13 attempts, while opponents are 40-for-45.

Caroline Raymond serves as the top starter in the circle, earning a 6-9 record with 10 complete games in 15 starts. Her 4.52 ERA is the low mark on staff, while she also leads the team in walks allowed with 68 in 86.2 innings. Meg Colleran has tossed 52.2 innings in 12 appearances and sports a 5.05 ERA.