Softball Sweeps Columbia in Ivy League Playoff Series, Earns Bid to NCAA Tournament

Photo courtesy of the Ivy League
Photo courtesy of the Ivy League
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After capturing its second-straight and eighth overall Ivy League title this season, the Harvard softball team (24-17, 16-5 Ivy) swept Columbia in the Ivy League Playoff Series with an 11-1 win over the Lions in game two today, May 11. With the sweep, the Crimson earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.

Katie Duncan pitched her ninth complete game in the circle for the Crimson this season, allowing just one unearned run through the five innings of play. Additionally, the senior co-captain tallied two strikeouts and a 2.72 ERA in the 23 batters she faced.

The Crimson's offense picked up where it left off in game one of the series, as Harvard's four-run first and second innings helped propel the team to victory. Elizabeth Shively drove in the first run of the day at the top of the first, as she singled to first base to bring in Kaitlyn Schiffhauer and put the Crimson on the board. One batter later with runners in scoring position, Morgan Melito drilled a double down the left field line to send home Meagan Lantz and Shively. Trina Hoang closed out the opening inning extending Harvard's lead to 4-0 after hitting an RBI double.

After a scoreless opening frame for the Lions, the Crimson's offense went to work again at the top of the second, pushing its advantage to 8-0. Schiffhauer first delivered a single up the middle to bring in both Rhianna Rich and Megan Welsh, before Hoang singled a two-run RBI to left field as Schiffhauer and Lockhart each scored.

Keeping Columbia off the board once more in the bottom of the second, Harvard added two more runs to its tally in the third inning. With the bases loaded, Lantz dropped one in to right field to bring home Welsh and have each runner advance. Shively closed out the scoring drive with a sacrifice fly to right field as Rich would cross the plate and give the Crimson a 10-0 lead.

After Columbia recorded one run in the bottom of the fourth, Harvard added another score to its tally at the top of the fifth. Holding off the Lions in the bottom of the fifth, the Crimson forced the mercy rule to seal an 11-1 victory.

Harvard Highlights
- Harvard recorded back-to-back four-run innings to open the game.
- Meagan Lantz, Elizabeth Shively, Trina Hoang and Megan Welsh each tallied two hits in today's game.
- Trina Hoang led the team with three RBI's, while Morgan Melito, Kaitlyn Schiffhauer and Shively each registered two.
- Rhianna Rich recorded one stolen base. 

Game Notes
- The Crimson now holds the record for the most runs scored in an Ivy League Playoff Series.
- Harvard is the first team to score double-digit runs multiple times in an Ivy League Playoff Series.
- This was the first mercy rule game in Ivy League championship history.

Up Next
Harvard will await its seeding and destination for the NCAA Tournament during the NCAA Selection Show tomorrow, May 12 at 9 p.m.