Jillian Leslie and the Crimson visit Ithaca, New York and Princeton, New Jersey to start Ivy play (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard softball team (10-11) will head out on the road this weekend to begin the Ivy League portion of its schedule, travelling to Cornell Friday, April 1 and Princeton Saturday, April 2. Both matchups will be a doubleheader with game one against the Big Red scheduled for 2 p.m., while first pitch with the Tigers is set for 12:30 p.m.
Last Time Out
Riding the stellar pitching outings by Morgan Groom and Taylor Cabe, the Crimson held off Boston College Tuesday in the home-opener at Soldier Field. Meagan Lantz and Savannah Bradley each drove in a run in the third inning to account for the Crimson's scoring. Groom started the game and went 5.1 innings with just one hit allowed, while Cabe came on in relief to earn the save.
Ivy Look Back
Harvard finished in second place in the North Division standings last season, posting a 13-7 record. Dartmouth took first with a 16-4 record and then advanced to the NCAA Tournament with a sweep of Penn, the South Division champion, in the Ivy League Championship Series. Harvard opponents this weekend, Cornell and Princeton, finished third and second, respectively, in the South Division.
Where We Stand Now
With Ivy League play set to begin for all eight conference schools Friday, Brown enters with the best out-of-conference winning percentage at .579 (11-8). Dartmouth also has 11 wins to go with nine losses, while the Crimson are 10-11 and Yale is 7-15 to round out the North Division team. In the South, Penn is the lone school with a winning record at 11-9. Princeton is 6-17, Columbia is 5-17 and Cornell 3-13.
Back to the Dugout You Go
Morgan Groom has racked up 40 strikeouts thus far, good for a 7.18 per game average. That mark ranks her fifth in the Ivy League. Groom also ranks fourth in the conference in ERA, entering the first conference weekend of the season with a 2.69 mark.
Harvard offense has been bolstered by a pair of rookies that occupy the left side of Harvard's infield. Third baseman Meagan Lantz leads Harvard with 14 RBI, fourth-most in the Ivy League. Shortstop Rhianna Rich paces the team in batting average at .342, good for 12th-best in the conference.
The Big Red enters Ivy play on a two-game losing streak after dropping both games of a doubleheader at Marist Wednesday. The defeats came after Cornell picked up its second and third wins of the season in a sweep of George Washington on the road Tuesday. Cornell's only other win came over Georgetown March 19 at the Mason Cherry Blossom Classic in Virginia.
Cornell's pitching has been its downfall this season as the staff ERA sits at 8.73. Maddie Orcutt has earned credit for two of the team's victories, but has the highest ERA at 9.07. Senior Meg Parker has been a bright spot on offense, batting .396, the fourth-best average in the Ivy League. She also has four home runs and 12 RBI.
The Tigers have earned half of their six wins in their last three games, taking two from Colgate March 26 and then downing Rider in a midweek matinee. Princeton will host Dartmouth Friday before welcoming Harvard to Class of 1895 Field Saturday.
Kaitlyn Waslawski has been the top offensive threat for Princeton, leading the team with a .326 average, while also going a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts, which leads the Ancient Eight. Kaylee Grant is the lone Tiger with double-digit RBI with 11. Five pitchers have worked at least 10 innings this season for Princeton, with Shanna Christian leading the way with 47. She has a 2-6 record and a 4.17 ERA. Ashley La Guardia holds an even 3-3 record and a team-low 3.82 ERA over 33 innings.
Harvard will return to Boston for an April 5 matchup at Boston University before hosting its first league games at Soldiers Field April 8-9 when Columbia and Penn visit Cambridge.