Maddy Kaplan had three hits Saturday as Harvard moved to 3-1 on the year (Fran Ruchalski).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Harvard softball team improved to 3-1 on the young season with a split on the second day of the JU Green and Gold Classic. Albany (1-2) handed Harvard its only loss of the tournament in the opener Saturday afternoon, 7-4, but the Crimson bounced back with an 11-5 trouncing of Jacksonville (7-7) in the nightcap.
Albany 7, Harvard 4
Harvard jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 1.5 innings, but a five-run fifth frame from Albany helped the Great Danes rally for a 7-4 victory Saturday afternoon.
Maddy Kaplan and Rhianna Rich continued to have strong opening weekends, with each recording two more hits. Kaplan also scored two more runs, drove in a run and had a walk, while Rich came in to score once. Centerfielder Zoe Galindo went 2-for-3 and drove in a run for the Crimson. Pitcher Morgan Groom suffered the loss for Harvard, while Devin Durando collected the win, going all seven innings for Albany.
Harvard wasted little time getting the offense going in the top of the first. Rich opened the game with a single and then raced around the base path on a Kaplan double to center. Two batters later, Elizabeth Shively plated Kaplan with an RBI-sacrifice fly to right.
The Crimson tacked on a third run in the top of the second when Galindo cranked a double to left center, scoring Haley Davis. Albany notched its first run of the game in the bottom half of the inning when Donna Conrad hit a double to left to drive in Elizabeth Snow.
Innings three and four passed without either team putting more runs up. In the fifth, Harvard extended its lead to 4-1 with an Erin Lockhart sacrifice fly. With two outs, Lockhart hit a fly ball to center, deep enough for Kaplan to tag up and score.
Albany's offense came alive in the bottom half of the frame, driving in five baserunners to take the lead. Kayla Bailey earned the first RBI with a walk on a play that Conrad scored on. Kelly Costello tied the game up with a two-RBI double two batters later and Maggie Cocks gave the Danes the advantage with a single that scored two more runs.
McKenzie Bump added an insurance run for Albany in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI, infield single. Rich tried to get a Crimson rally going in the top of the seventh, but the Albany defense got outs in the next four at bats to seal the victory.
Harvard 11, Jacksonville 5
The Crimson offense exploded with 15 hits from nine different batters on its way to an 11-5 victory over the host Jacksonville Dolphins Saturday night. Rich, from the lead-off spot, went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Galindo, Lockhart and Kaitlyn Schiffhauer each also had two hits.
Taylor Cabe worked 4.2 innings and garnered credit for the victory, her second on the weekend.
Jacksonville put the first run up on the board in the bottom of the first, but Harvard was quick to strike back, scoring six in the top of the second. Harvard's first two runs came off errors by the Jacksonville defense, allowing Alexa Altchek and Lockhart to both touch the plate. Rich made it a 4-1 Crimson lead with a triple through the left side that brought home Meagan Lantz and Schiffhauer. The scoring continued with RBI singles from Kaplan and Shively to bring the score to 6-1 after 1.5 innings.
Altcheck provided a boost for the Crimson in the top of the fourth when she cleared the bases with a double, pushing the lead out to 9-1. Schiffhauer made it a 10-1 lead with an RBI single in the top of the fifth, driving in Jillian Leslie who began the inning with a double. Jacksonville got three runs back in the bottom of the fifth when Emily Sanchez hit a three-run homer.
Each team added one more run to its count in the seventh to bring the final score to 11-5. Schiffhauer knocked another RBI single in the top half, while Heather Roberts hit a solo shot for Jacksonville in the bottom.
Harvard heads to Georgia for four more games next weekend at the Eagle Classic hosted by Georgia Southern. On the docket for Harvard are two games against Eastern Kentucky, one with Georgia Southern and another versus North Dakota.