Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications
SEATTLE, Wash. -- After eliminating Maryland and No. 23 Texas Tech from the 2012 NCAA Seattle Regional Saturday, the Harvard softball team dropped a 4-0 decision to No. 16 Washington in the Regional Final Sunday at Husky Softball Stadium. Harvard ends the season with a 35-15 overall mark, collecting the second-most wins in a season in program history. Washington (39-17) advances to its fourth straight NCAA Super Regional with the win.
The Huskies jumped on the board early as their leadoff batter reached on a Harvard error and promptly stole second, despite a good throw from catcher Allison Scott. Rachel Brown struck out the next batter but designated player Kaitlin Inglesby roped a hard single to left, plating Victoria Hayward with the game's first run. Two sharp plays by third baseman Kasey Lange got Harvard out of the inning.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Jane Alexander gave Harvard its first hit of the game, slamming a ball off the right field wall and sliding into second for a double. Husky starter Bryana Walker refocused, however, and retired the next two hitters on a fly out and pop up to the catcher.
Washington put the game out of reach in the top of the fourth as Shawna Wright led off with a single and Washington got two runners on with two outs when Victoria Hayward drew a walk. Nikia Williams stepped into the first pitch she saw, blasting the first home run of the Seattle Regional to left-center to give Washington a commanding 4-0 edge.
Harvard threatened in the bottom of the sixth as Lange drove a double down the right field line and Stephanie Regan drew a walk in the next at bat. Katherine Lantz lifted a ball to right that the right fielder settled under and a strikeout by Walker ended the inning with Harvard unable to push a run across.
Harvard collected its second-straight and sixth overall Ivy League championship, posting a 17-3 record in Ivy play and sweeping Penn in the Ivy League Championship Series. The 2012 squad is the first in program history to advance to the NCAA Regional Final.