LONG BEACH, Calif. – The Harvard softball team continued its hot start to the 2017 campaign with a 2-1 victory over Long Beach State on Saturday afternoon. Kathleen Duncan and Sarah Smith combined for seven solid innings on the mound, allowing just one run on six total hits.
Harvard (6-2) earned its fourth-straight win with the one-run decision over the 49ers (7-13-1) as the Crimson has opened the Long Beach State/Fullerton Tournament 3-0. Harvard has allowed just six runs over the three-game stretch, including consecutive 2-1 victories.
The Crimson offense managed to get on the scoreboard first with a two-run third inning. Rhianna Rich started the inning with an infield single and stole second to put the pressure on the 49ers defense. Maddy Kaplan then walked and Erin Lockhart was hit by a pitch to load up the bases with no one out. Elizabeth Shively then drove in the first Crimson run with a single through the left side, and Callaway used a sacrifice fly to drive in Rich and give Harvard the two-run advantage.
Long Beach State responded in the bottom half of the third, using a leadoff hit by pitch to get a baserunner on base to open the frame. After collecting two outs on a fielder's choice and groundout to the pitcher, Duncan surrendered a single to center to make it a 2-1 contest. Duncan maintained her composure on the hill, however, rolling a groundball to first to end the inning and keep the 2-1 lead.
Duncan ran into a bit of trouble in the fourth as she allowed two hits, but a groundout and a pop out stranded both Long Beach State baserunners and got out of any potential danger.
Smith replaced Duncan for the start of the fifth inning and shut the door on the Long Beach offense. She allowed just one hit in the fifth before completely dominating the 49ers' hitters in the sixth and seventh. Smith earned her second save of the year with a three-inning performance in which she gave up one hit and struck out two.