Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications
SEATTLE, Wash. - The Harvard softball team gave the No. 16 Washington Huskies all they could handle in its opening game of the NCAA Seattle Regional, but one key hit by the hosts proved to be the difference as the Crimson fell, 2-0, Friday at Husky Softball Stadium. Harvard (33-14) will take on Maryland (34-21) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. PST (6:30 EST) in the first elimination game of the regional.
The hosts broke through in the bottom of the fourth as Jerrin Fa'asua reached with a one-out bunt single and Shawna Wright followed with a base hit to left. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third with two outs and Kimberlee Souza delivered the clutch swing, roping a double to the left-centerfield gap, giving the hosts a 2-0 advantage after four full frames.
Katherine Lantz picked up the first hit of the game, threading a single through the right side with one out in the top of the second inning. Allison Scott chopped one in front of the plate in the next at-bat that acted like a sacrifice bunt, moving Lantz into scoring position with two away. Whitney Shaw drew a walk to give the Crimson runners at first and second, but Adrienne Hume's drive to left field hung up and was caught to end the Harvard threat.
Ashley Heritage chopped a ball to the left side that the third baseman couldn't handle, reaching on an error to start the Harvard third. Husky hurler Kaitlin Inglesby bore down and picked up a strikeout and induced a pair of grounders to keep the guests off the board through three.
Rachel Brown was steady through the first three innings, keeping the Huskies off the board with an effective changes of speeds and locations. Washington's best chance early in the game came in the third when Nikia Williams popped a two-out triple off the right-centerfield wall, but was stranded 60 feet from home as Inglesby flied to left for the third out.
Lantz made a nice play in the bottom of the fifth inning, snaring a one-out line drive off the bat of the cleanup hitter Inglesby and firing to first to double off Williams to end the inning. Harvard dodged a potential big inning in the bottom of the sixth as a nice catch by Camilla Gibson in centerfield highlighted a frame where the Crimson escaped a first-and-third, no outs jam.
Allison Scott dropped a one-out single into shallow right field in Harvard's last at-bat and Shaw followed with a line drive base hit to left, giving the Crimson two runners on with just one out. Washington recorded the second out on a fielder's choice and a final strikeout by Inglesby capped the 2-0 win.