NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Senior center fielder Maddy Kaplan went on an offensive tear as Harvard softball (9-8, 2-0 Ivy) swept Saturday afternoon's doubleheader against rival Yale (2-14, 0-2 Ivy), 5-3 and 10-4, to open Ivy League action at 2-0.
Kaplan powered the Crimson offense going seven-for-eight from the top of the lineup with two doubles, one homerun, and seven RBI – including tying her career single-game best, driving in four runs in game two.
Game 1: Harvard 5, Yale 3
In the first game of the twin-bill, the two rivals each scored once in the first inning, but in the top of the second, Harvard pushed across three runs, all with two outs, to take a 4-1 lead.
Junior shortstop Rhianna Rich pulled a two-out single into right field to bring home, pinch runner, sophomore Isabelle Haugh to put the Crimson on top 2-1. Moments later, Kaplan ripped an opposite field double into left center to plate, both, senior left fielder Alexa Altchek and Rich to increase the lead to three.
The Bulldogs answered in the home-half of frame, pushing across two runs to cut the lead to one. Harvard added an insurance run in the top of the third to take a 5-3 lead, but it was more than enough for junior left-hander Kathleen Duncan.
Despite a rough first two innings, Duncan settled into a groove as she kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard over the final five innings to pick up her sixth win of the season.
Game 2: Harvard 10, Yale 4
Kaplan jumped on Yale's game two starter Francesca Casalino, blasting her first homerun of the season into the construction area just over the right field fence to give Harvard the 2-0 lead. But the Bulldogs responded, scoring three times in the bottom half to a one-run advantage. Yale added to its lead pushing across a run in the home half of the second to increase its lead to 4-2.
The Bulldogs held the two-run lead until the top of the fourth when, a second time through the order, the Crimson batters greeted Casalino rudely. With runners on first and second and one out, Altchek ripped a double over the center fielder's head to bring home Alyssa Saldana and Dallas Hogan to tie the game a four.
Following a walk to Rich to give the Crimson runners on first and second, Kaplan came through once again. The senior captain lined a double to the edge of the warning track in center to bring home Altchek and send Rich to third. Harvard was not done, capping off the six-run fourth with junior Nicki Nishizawa reaching on a throwing error by the shortstop to allow Rich to score the final run of the frame.
The Crimson added another two runs in the top of the sixth to extend its lead to 10-4, but it was more than enough. Junior right hander Sarah Smith earned her first win of the season, tossing three innings of outstanding relief, allowing just one walk.
- Senior Maddy Kaplan tied her career single-game high, driving in four base runners going 3-for-4 with a double and a homerun in game two.
- Kaplan went 7-for-8 on the day with two doubles, one homerun, and seven RBI.
- Junior right hander Sarah Smith earned her first win of the season in three innings of relief in game two allowing just one walk.
Harvard returns to the DeWitt Family Field tomorrow looking to complete the three-game sweep of the Bulldogs. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Ivy League Network.