ORLANDO, Fla. – The Harvard softball team (2-0) opened the 2018 campaign with a pair of wins over Purdue (1-8) and Miami (OH) (1-5) at the Citrus Classic on Friday afternoon.
Junior Kathleen Duncan picked up the win in both games to begin the year at 2-0. The lefthander tossed 8.1 innings allowing two unearned runs on six hits, while striking out six opposing batters.
Classmate, junior third baseman Erin Lockhart went two-for-three at the dish with a homerun and three runs scored for the Crimson.
GAME 1: Harvard 4, Purdue 3
It as a pitcher's duel through the first three innings, before the Crimson finally got to Purdue's Sydney Bates in the top of the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, junior shortstop Rhianna Rich lined a single into right field to bring home backstop Elizabeth Shively with the first run of the game.
The Boilermakers answered in the bottom of the frame, taking advantage of a Crimson fielding error to plate two runners and re-gain the lead.
Purdue remained on top until the top of the sixth inning, when the Crimson lineup struck again, driving in two more runs to take the 3-2 lead. Senior Melissa Lacro began the inning pulling a one-out single into left field to bring the lineup back around to the top. Rich ripped a double into left field to bring home Lacro and tied the game at two. Two batters later, second baseman Meagan Lantz brought home Rich with an opposite field single to give the lead back to Harvard.
The Crimson added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when third baseman Erin Lockhart crossed the plate on a wild pitch to increase the Crimson lead to 4-2. The two-run cushion proved to be necessary as the Boilermakers pushed across one run in the home half of the seventh. But it was not enough.
Duncan opens the year at 1-0 after allowing two unearned runs on four hits, while striking out three over six innings of work.
GAME 2: Harvard 11, Miami 8
The Harvard bats came alive in game two against Miami (OH). Every member of the Crimson lineup reached base safely over the seven-inning game. Slugging her first homerun of the season in the bottom of the first, third baseman Erin Lockhart led the way, going two-for-three with two runs scored and three RBI.
Harvard came out of the gate strong, scoring five times over the first three innings to build a 5-2 cushion over the Redhawks. However, Miami answered, pushing across a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to pull within one run of the lead, 5-4.
It was short-lived. The Crimson batted around in the home half of the fourth to put up a crooked number four and extend its lead 9-4.
Although the Redhawks responded putting up four runs of their own a half inning later to pull themselves back within one run, 9-8, it still was not enough. The Crimson scored two additional insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth to hang on for its second victory of the young season.
Lockhart was one of three players to hit a homerun against the Redhawks. Freshman right fielder Alyssa Saldana and sophomore backstop Lindey Kneib, each, slugged their first collegiate career homerun. Saldana launched a solo shot in the bottom of the second, while Kneib's was a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth.
Duncan earned her second victory of the season, tossing 2.1 innings of relief allowing just two hits, while striking out three Redhawks.
Harvard returns to the diamond tomorrow afternoon in Orlando, Florida against Duke at 3 p.m. and No. 23 Kentucky at 5:30 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on FloSoftball.