Harvard hosts Bryant Tuesday at Soldiers Field (Tim Bradbury).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard softball (20-19) will host Bryant on Tuesday, April 22 at 4 p.m. at Soldiers Field in its final scheduled out-of-conference matchup. The Bulldogs hold an overall record of 15-27 and are an even 6-6 in NEC play.
The Crimson and Bulldogs have met just eight times since their first encounter in 1992. The series is tied at 4-4 with Bryant having won the last two meetings. The most recent contest occurred on March 27, 2012 at Soldiers Field with Bryant taking a 15-6 decision. Harvard's last win came in 2009 when it swept a doubleheader on the road.
Harvard has been busy over the last eight days, playing 10 games and going 6-4 during that span. The past two weekends, the Crimson has gone 3-1 on the road at Brown and at home against Yale. In each of those series, Harvard won the first three games before dropping the series finale. Sandwiched in between those Ivy contests were games against Boston College and Boston University. Harvard played its local opponents tough in each outing, but eventually fell in both games.
Over the weekend against rival Yale, Maddy Kaplan and Haley Davis both batted .500 with Davis matching Laura Ricciardone for the team lead in RBI with five. On the year, Kaplan ranks second among all starters with a .352 batting average. She trails only senior Katherine Lantz who is hitting at a .370 clip and has a team-best 26 RBI. Not only a strong for-average hitter, Lantz's power numbers are among the best on the team. She is slugging .600 with five homers, two triples and four doubles.
Senior Laura Ricciardone had another strong weekend in the circle for the Crimson. After hitting a grand slam in the first inning of the opening game Saturday, she went on to earn victories in both contests and has an 11-6 record on the year. In 13.2 innings of work, she posted a low ERA of 1.02, allowed just two earned runs and struck out six. Morgan Groom picked up the Crimson's final win of the weekend in Sunday's opener, tossing a five-hit complete game to move to 4-3 on the year. Groom's 3.17 ERA in 59.2 innings of work is the second-lowest on the team, with Ricciardone's 2.42 leading the way.
The Bulldogs had a four-game win streak snapped in their second game Sunday at Central Connecticut, falling 7-1. The loss dropped Bryant to 15-27 on the year with seven games remaining on its schedule.
A trio of juniors have stood out on the Bulldogs' roster this season. Pitcher Elle Madsen has a 2.93 ERA and a 9-15 record in 150.1 innings. At the plate, she brings a power bat, hitting a team-high eight home runs and driving in a team-leading 29 RBI. Hayley Bottino also pulls double duty, pitching 64.2 frames with a 5.09 ERA and 4-9 record. With a bat in her hands, she has 26 RBI, good for second on the team, and her .292 average ranks third. Second baseman Liana Ogata is the batting average leader at .331, while also stealing 11 bases.