Softball Sweeps Dartmouth, 7-6 and 9-2; Leads Ivy North Division

Softball Sweeps Dartmouth, 7-6 and 9-2; Leads Ivy North Division

Sophomore Erin Lockhart hit two home runs in Harvard's doubleheader sweep at Dartmouth (Gil Talbot)

A stellar day at the plate carried the Harvard softball team (20-17, 11-7 Ivy League) to a doubleheader sweep at Dartmouth (11-26-1, 10-8 Ivy League) by scores of 7-6 and 9-2, lifting the Crimson to first place in the Ivy League North Division. Harvard will complete the regular season with another doubleheader against the Big Green, this one at Soldiers Field tomorrow beginning with Game 1 at 2 p.m. 

Harvard hit five home runs on the day, with sophomore third baseman Erin Lockhart (3-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 3 BB) leading the way. Lockhart had home runs in both contests, and Taylor Cabe and Kathleen Duncan each picked up wins on the afternoon in the circle.

In what started as a pitcher's duel between Duncan and Dartmouth Breanna Ethridge, the Crimson struck first in the top of the fourth inning after three scoreless frames. A single by Elizabeth Shively to lead off the inning was followed by a one-out walk from Lockhart. The next batter, Olivia Giaquinto, homered on a 1-2 count to left to put the Crimson up 3-0.

After another scoreless inning by Duncan, Harvard tacked on two more runs via the long ball to take a 5-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Junior outfielder Maddy Kaplan led off the inning with an infield single. Then with two outs in the inning, Lockhart homered to left field to give the Crimson a commanding lead.

A solo homer run by Dartmouth's Karen Chaw made it 5-1 in the bottom half of the sixth inning, but Harvard added two runs in the next half inning with patience at the plate. The Crimson drew four walks in the frame, capitalizing with an RBI infield single by Melissa Lacro and a bases loaded walk from Gianna Panariello to make it 7-1.

Harvard would need the insurance, as Dartmouth began the bottom of the seventh inning with four straight hits off Duncan, including an RBI double by Lourlin Lara. With the score 7-2, Cabe entered the game with runners on first and second and one out. Dartmouth added three more hits to cut the Harvard lead to 7-6, but Cabe closed out the game with runners on first and third and two out with a strikeout of Tiffany Dyson.

A stellar pitching effort by Cabe, who went the distance, scattering eight hits in seven innings and striking out five, and more power by Harvard, which recorded six extra base hits in the game, allowed the Crimson to cruise to a 9-2 win over Dartmouth in Game 2.

Sophomore shortstop Rhianna Rich went 3-for-5 with two triples and three runs scored, Maddy Kaplan hit her first home run of the year, and Erin Lockhart added her team-leading sixth home run.

Cabe allowed just three hits through the first four innings, keeping Dartmouth off the scoreboard before Harvard exploded for five runs in the top of the fifth. A Rich triple to right field, followed by Kaplan's RBI single up the middle quickly put Harvard up 1-0. A Kaitlyn Schiffhauer infield single put runners on first and second later in the inning, and Lockhart delivered another big hit, a three-run home run to left to make it 4-0. After Giaquinto doubled to left field, Nicki Nishizawa added a two-out RBI single to left to put the Crimson up 5-0.

A solo home run by Dartmouth's Clair Bird made it a four-run game, but Harvard added a run in the top of the sixth inning on an RBI single by Schiffhauer, and three more in the top of the seventh inning on a solo home run by Catherine Callaway, and Kaplan's two-run shot later in the frame to put the game out of reach.