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Junior Christie Taylor
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin

Softball Falls Twice At Harvard

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 04/06/2012
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Box Scores: Game 1 | Game 2

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Columbia softball team suffered 8-0 and 4-0 losses to Harvard on Friday at Soldiers Field.

The Crimson (17-9, 5-1 Ivy League) and starting pitcher Rachel Brown limited the Lions (7-22, 1-5 Ivy League) to one hit in the first game, which went six innings. In the second game, the teams were at a 0-0 stalemate through the first four and a half frames before Harvard scored four runs in the fifth to seize control of the game.

GAME 1: Harvard 8, Columbia 0 (6 Innings)
Columbia’s best scoring opportunity in the first game was in the first inning when the Lions left a pair of runners stranded. Alison Lam drew a leadoff, four-pitch walk off Harvard starting pitcher Rachel Brown and advanced to second on a wild pitch two batters later. Alix Cook reached base on an error at short to give Columbia two runners on base with just one out. Brown got out of the jam, inducing a flyout to right and a flyout to second.

Harvard capitalized on the Lions’ missed opportunity to take control of the game early. In the bottom of the first, the Crimson poured on four runs to take a 4-0 lead. Kasey Lange hit a one-out RBI single off Lions starter Kalli Schultea through the right side to plate Jane Alexander from third base for the first run of the game. Four batters later, with the bases loaded, Allison Scott hit a two-RBI single up the middle. Katherine Lantz followed with another RBI single up the middle in the next at-bat.

Christie Taylor had the Lions’ lone hit of the game in the second inning. With two outs, Taylor sent the first pitch she saw back up the middle for the base hit. A groundout to short left her stranded at first.

The Crimson extended its lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Stephanie Regan hit an RBI single up the middle to plate Lange from second base.

Tristin Moone entered the circle in relief of Schultea in the third inning and both teams traded scoreless frames from the third through the top of the sixth. Moone worked her way out of a jam in the Harvard fourth when the Crimson strung together three singles after a pair of groundouts started the inning. With the bases juiced, Moone induced a groundout to shortstop Jennifer Bergeron to leave three Harvard players on base.

Harvard ended the game in the bottom of the sixth when it poured on three more runs. With the bases loaded and one out, Jessica Ferri knocked a pinch-hit single to left to bring home one run before a runner was forced out at third. Emily Gusse followed with a pinch-hit RBI double to right field that drove ni two more runs.

Lam and Emily Snodgrass each recorded one walk in the loss.

Schultea (3-10) took the loss after allowing two earned runs over two innings in the circle. Moone tossed 3.2 frames and did not allow an earned run.

Brown improved to 10-4 with the win after throwing six scoreless frames with five strikeouts.

GAME 2: Harvard 4, Columbia 0
The first four frames of the second game was a pitcher’s duel between Columbia’s Brooke Darling and Harvard’s Laura Ricciardone. Darling and Ricciardone only allowed two hits apiece through the first four innings.

Columbia left two runners stranded three times in the game. In the second inning, Tristin Moone legged out a two-out single to second base and Christie Taylor drilled a double to left field to give the Lions two runners in scoring position. Ricciardone induced a pop-up to short to end the Columbia scoring threat.

The Lions had two left on base in the top of the fifth. Taylor drew a one-out walk and Liz Caggiano reached on an error at second. Kayla Shimoda reached on a fielder’s choice as Taylor was thrown out at third, still giving Columbia two on with two outs. Ricciardone spoiled things for the Lions once again with a swinging strikeout.

Harvard ended the scoring drought in the bottom of the fifth. With one out and runners on first and second, Katherine Lantz singled to center field to drive in Andrea Del Conte while Jessica Ferri scored on the throw. After two walks that loaded the bases, Shelbi Olson sent a two-RBI single up the middle to give The Crimson a 4-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Lions started a two-out rally when Taylor was hit by a pitch on an 0-2 count. Amy Niedzwecki entered to pinch run for Taylor and Caggiano followed with a single to center field. Niedzwecki advanced to third on an errant throw from center field, giving Columbia runners on the corners with two outs. Ricciardone closed the door on the game by inducing a groundout to third.

Taylor was 1-of-1 with one walk and one HBP. Caggiano and Moone were each 1-of-3 at the plate.

Darling (4-11) took the loss after striking out two and allowing four earned runs over six innings.

Ricciardone (7-5) picked up the complete-game win after striking out three over seven scoreless frames.

The Lions will be back in action on Saturday when they head to Hanover, N.H., to face Dartmouth for two games starting at 12:30 p.m.

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