Harvard and Princeton played two hard fought games in the Ivy League Championship series. (Courtesy of the Ivy League)
PRINCETON, N.J. – The Harvard softball team (22-19) dropped two hard fought games at Princeton (25-18) in the Ivy Championship series by scores of 1-0 (Game 1) and 13-4 (Game 2), as the Tigers claimed their second consecutive league title at Class of 1895 Field on Saturday (May 6). Kathleen Duncan (6.2 IP, 7H, ER, 5K) pitched brilliantly in Game 1 of the doubleheader, while Olivia Giaquinto and Erin Lockhart added their team-leading seventh home runs in Game 2.
GAME 1: PRINCETON 1, HARVARD 0
With Duncan and Princeton starter Claire Klausner in a pitcher's duel, the Tigers finally broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh inning the deciding frame, an opposite field single by Allison Harvey with one out and the bases loaded brought the winning run home, wrapping up a well-played game all-around.
A string of great defensive plays for Harvard started with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, as Duncan escaped a first inning jam courtesy of Kaitlyn Schiffhauer, who fielded a single up the middle by Kaylee Grant and nailed Kylee Pierce at the plate with a great throw from center field to keep the game at 0-0.
More good defense by Harvard helped Duncan later on in the game, as catcher Elizabeth Shively nullified a leadoff single by picking off Marissa Reynolds with a snap throw to first base in the bottom of the fourth inning.
In the top of the fifth inning, Harvard loaded the bases after a leadoff double by Shively, a two-out single by pinch hitter Catherine Callaway, followed by a walk by Rich. Kaplan hit the ball hard on a 1-0 count, but Princeton third baseman Alex Viscusi snagged the line drive to end the Crimson threat.
Lockhart lined a single to left to lead off the top of the sixth inning, then Schiffhauer slapped a ball to third base with two strikes and reached on an error, putting runners on first and second base with no one out. But Harvard could not push a run across.
GAME 2: PRINCETON 13, HARVARD 4
Princeton struck first in Game 2 of the series, loading the bases with one out in the first inning for Kaylee Grant, who doubled down the left field line to bring two runs home and give the Tigers the early lead.
The Tigers tacked on one more in the top of the third inning on a two-out single by Keeley Walsh, then forced Cabe out of the game in the top of the fourth after a two out double by Allison Harvey made it 4-0 and put runners on second and third base.
With Kathleen Duncan pitching, Marissa Reynolds hit a double off the left centerfield fence to make it 6-0 Tigers before the Crimson got out of the inning.
Freshman Olivia Giaquinto hit her team-high seventh home run of the season to put Harvard on the board in the bottom of fourth inning.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Harvard continued to chip away as a sacrifice fly by Kaplan plated Dallas Hogan from third base. The next batter, Erin Lockhart, hit a two-run homer to left to cut the Princeton lead to 6-4.
The Tigers loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the sixth, and Kaylee Grant's double down the left field line gave the Tigers two more insurance runs. Two consecutive RBI singles by Princeton made it 10-4 before Harvard got out of the inning. The Tigers tacked on three more runs in the seventh before closing out the game for their second straight Ivy title.