Harvard opens LMU Invitational with a pair of wins over Southern Utah and host Loyola Marymount (Katie Lockhart).
LOS ANGELES – Clutch two-out hitting helped Harvard softball (5-6) begin the Loyola Marymount Invitational with a pair of wins, following back-to-back convincing victories against Southern Utah (2-18) and host Loyola Marymount (10-12-1) on Friday afternoon.
Junior third baseman Meaghan Lantz extended her hitting streak to five games going 5-8 with two doubles, two RBI, and a run scored from the middle of the Crimson lineup. The southeastern Florida native has now reached base safely, via a walk or a hit, in her last eight games.
GAME 1: Harvard 11, Southern Utah 3
The bats came out under the crystal-clear Los Angeles skies as the Crimson opened the LMU Invitational with a decisive 11-2 victory over Southern Utah.
Lantz gave the Crimson the early 1-0 lead, ripping a two-out single in the top of the first to drive in junior shortstop Rhianna Rich. Harvard continued to keep the pressure on Southern Utah's Kalei Watkins, putting up a crooked number three in the top of the second.
Senior second baseman Melissa Lacro led off the inning lining a double into right centerfield. Moments later, senior left fielder Alexa Altchek launched her first career homerun to bring home Lacro in the process. The Crimson scored once more in the frame to increase its lead to 4-0, midway through two innings.
The Thunderbirds cut the lead in half, scoring once in the bottom of the second and third, but Harvard answered putting up a four spot in the top of the fourth, extending its lead to 7-2. Senior right fielder Maddy Kaplan ripped a two-out double to the opposite field to bring home junior center fielder Kaitlyn Schiffhauer.
Two batters later, after Lantz reached on an infield single, junior Erin Lockhart lined a single into right field to plate Kaplan, and send Lantz to third. Lantz scored the third and final run of the frame, scoring on the back-end of a double steal as Lockhart swiped second.
Harvard batted around in the top of the fifth, putting up four runs to extend its lead to 11-3 and seal the win. Junior right-hander Olivia Giaquinto earned her first victory of the season, improving to 1-1 after tossing three innings allowing just two runs on five hits.
GAME 2: Harvard 8, Loyola Marymount 2
The Crimson offense carried its momentum into game two against, host, Loyola Marymount. A second time facing Lions' starter Linnay Wilson, Harvard batted around in the top of the fourth to put up a crooked number six.
Junior backstop Elizabeth Shively opened the scoring in the inning driving a two-run triple into right field. After sophomore first baseman Olivia Giaquinto walked, senior left fielder Alexa Altchek lined single to into left field to bring home Shively for the fourth run, but the Crimson was not done. Senior right fielder Maddy Kaplan lined single into centerfield to bring home Altchek and junior shortstop Rhianna Rich, but junior center fielder Kaitlyn Schiffhauer was thrown out attempting to reach third on the play. But the damage was done.
Loyola Marymount avoided the shutout and scored twice in the top bottom of the sixth, but Harvard had the game well in hand, leading 8-2. Junior left-hander Kathleen Duncan climbed back to .500 on the season, earning her fourth win, tossing a complete game allowing just two runs on five hits, while striking out three Lions.
- Junior Meagan Lantz extended her hitting streak to five games and has successfully reached base safely in her last eight.
- Junior Kathleen Duncan improved to 4-4 on the season securing the win in game two, allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out three in seven innings.
- Sophomore Olivia Giaquinto picked up her first win of the season, earning the victory in game one.
Harvard returns to the diamond for another two games tomorrow against regional foe, Providence at 11 a.m. before face Florida Gulf Coast at 4 p.m.