Giaquinto's Big Day Lifts Softball to Ivy North Title With Sweep of Dartmouth, 8-4 and 8-0

Freshman Olivia Giaquinto had seven RBI (2 HRs) and picked up a win in the circle to lead Harvard to a sweep of Dartmouth. (Gil Talbot)

A big day at the plate and in the circle for Olivia Giaquinto helped lift Harvard softball (22-17, 13-7 Ivy League) to a doubleheader sweep of Dartmouth (11-28-1, 10-10 Ivy League) and a second consecutive Ivy League North Division title. The Crimson won by scores of 8-4 and 8-0 (five innings) to clinch the seventh division title in program history and a rematch with Princeton in the Ivy League Championship series.

Giaquinto had seven RBIs on the afternoon, hitting two 3-run home runs in Game 1 of the doubleheader and adding two hits, including an RBI single in Game 2. In the circle, Giaquinto pitched four scoreless innings in Game 2, scattering three hits and striking out one batter to earn her second win of the year.

In Game 1, Harvard starting pitcher Kathleen Duncan worked in and out of trouble, allowing two runs through the first four innings but stranding nine Dartmouth runners on base, as the Big Green led 2-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth.

Giaquinto came up with her first big hit of the afternoon, as she stepped to the plate with two runners on base after Erin Lockhart was hit by a pitch and Kaitlyn Schiffhauer reached on an infield single. With the count at 2-1, Giaquinto hit a long fly ball over the left centerfield fence to put Harvard ahead 3-2.

The next batter, catcher Elizabeth Shively, hooked the first pitch she saw inside the left field foul pole for her first home run of the season to put the Crimson up by two runs.

With runners on second and third and two outs in the top of the fifth inning, senior pitcher Taylor Cabe came on in relief and struck out Alyssa Jorgensen to end the Dartmouth threat. In the bottom half of the inning, Harvard put the game out of reach for good by tacking on three more runs courtesy of Giaquinto once again.

Maddy Kaplan reached on an infield single, and Lockhart followed with a walk to put two runners on. With two outs in the inning, Giaquinto hit her second three-run homer of the game over the left field fence to make it 7-2.

While Dartmouth added two runs in the top of the sixth inning, an RBI single by Rhianna Rich in the bottom half of the frame pushed the Harvard lead to four runs. Cabe worked around a one-out double in the seventh inning, inducing a groundout to end the game and set off a celebration in the infield.

With Giaquinto pitching well in Game 2 of the doubleheader, Harvard exploded for seven runs on nine hits in the bottom of the second inning to put the game out of reach early on.

With runners on second and third base and one out, Harvard began a run of six straight hits, including RBI singles by Giana Panariello, Rich, Lockhart (2), and Giaquinto, with an RBI double by Schiffhauer in between. Lindey Kneib added a two-out RBI single to make it 7-0.

Meanwhile, Giaquinto was solid in the circle, pitching four scoreless innings before giving way to freshman Alissa Hiener, who made her Harvard debut in the fifth. Hiener pitched a scoreless frame to set up a dramatic moment for another freshman.

Needing one run to seal the run-rule win, Isabelle Haugh led off the bottom of the fifth with a home run over the left field fence, her first collegiate hit, to clinch the victory for Harvard.