CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard softball team left little doubt as to who was the class of the Ivy League this year, blanking Cornell, 4-0, to sweep the Ivy Championship Series and claim the fifth league title in team history. The win ups the Crimson’s overall record to 36-14 this season, a new school record, and gives Harvard its first league title since 2007.
Harvard wasted no time getting on the board, posting three runs in the top of the first. Stephanie Regan’s one-out walk and back-to-back singles from Kasey Lange and Whitney Shaw loaded the bases for the Crimson. Allison Scott brought home Harvard’s first run, slapping a ball to second base and bringing Regan home on a fielder’s choice. Left fielder Ashley Heritage then pumped a 2-1 pitch deep to left-center for a two-run triple, giving Harvard a 3-0 lead after one.
Cornell threatened in each of the next three innings, collecting a hit in each of the first two innings and a trio of hits in the third, but could not score any runs. Lange made a fantastic diving play on a Marissa Amiraian shot to finish off the Big Red in the second, and Shaw squashed a potential rally with an unassisted double play off a line drive to end the third.
Cornell pitchers Ali Tomlinson and Elizabeth Dalrymple worked well through the middle innings, combining to sit down the Crimson in order in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. The Crimson padded its lead in the sixth when Lange reached on a one-out single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Scott went the opposite way with a 1-2 pitch, bringing home Lange and extending the Crimson lead to 4-0.
Rachel Brown took over for Laura Ricciardone in the circle for Harvard in the sixth and was lights out down the stretch, fanning five Big Red batters and scattering a pair of hits. Brown recorded the final out on a swinging strike, giving Harvard the title and its second consecutive shutout victory.
Scott and Heritage were responsible for the runs on the day as each drove in a pair while Lange collected a pair of base hits. Brown earned her second save of the year in two innings of work and Ricciardone allowed just five hits in five solid innings for the 13th win of her rookie campaign.
Harvard will now turn its attention to the NCAA tournament, where it will represent the Ivy League in regional play. The NCAA selection show will take place on Sunday May, 15.