CAMBRIDGE, Mass – Behind solid pitching and four home runs, the Dartmouth softball team swept Harvard, 8-2 and 9-2, to claim back-to-back Ivy League North Division Championships on Monday afternoon. The Big Green will host Penn next weekend in the best-of-three series, with the winner earning the conference’s automatic berth to the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
The Ivy League Championship Series will be held at the Dartmouth Softball Park on May 3 and May 4 with start times set for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Please check with DartmouthSports.com throughout the week for continuing updates regarding this weekend’s upcoming games.
Led by homers from sophomores Katie McEachern and Morgan McCalmon and freshmen Chloe Madill and Maddie Damore, the Dartmouth belted 23 hits and bounced around Harvard’s pitchers. Senior Kara Curosh led the team with five hits from the leadoff spot.
Monday’s visitors finished the regular season 29-16 overall and 18-2 in the Ivy League. The Crimson fall to 28-15 and 14-3 in league play, with all three Ivy losses coming at the hands of the Green and White in the last two days.
In the opener, the Dartmouth offense did a great job of knocking around the Harvard pitching staff, scoring runs in five of the seven innings. The Crimson used three pitchers during the contest as Gabrielle Ruiz tossed the final three frames. She was the only Crimson to throw more than two innings.
Harvard Starter Laura Ricciardone lasted just two innings, allowing three runs, two earned on three hits. Her replacement, Taylor Cube, allowed one run and two hits in a pair of frames. Ruiz took the brunt of the Dartmouth attack, surrendering both home runs and four runs total on five hits.
For Dartmouth, Rumley battled like a seasoned veteran, allowing just two runs on five hits in six innings. McCalmon tossed a scoreless seventh to preserve the victory.
“There is a reason why she is the best pitcher in the league,” commented head coach Rachel Hanson. “Rumley competes like a seasoned veteran. She competes on good and bad days.”
The Big Green put up three runs on three hits in the first inning. Senior Kara Curosh singled to left field and then moved to second on another single up the middle by Madill. McCalmon put the Big Green on the board with an RBI single to right field before finding herself at third after a throwing error by Shelbi Olson. The hit plated both Curosh and Madill. The Green took a three-run advantage on a sacrifice fly by freshman Karen Chaw.
Dartmouth added a run in the fourth with an RBI double to left center by Chaw that scored McCalmon, who singled to right field to begin the frame. The Green and White tagged Crimson pitchers for home runs in the fifth and sixth innings off the bats of Madill and McCalmon, respectively. Madill’s blast to right field came with two outs, while McCalmon’s over left-centerfield wall was a leadoff pop.
Leading 6-2, heading into the seventh, Dartmouth scored two insurance markers on two hits and one error. Curosh picked up her second base knock of the contest and scored on Madill’s subsequent double down the left field line. Madill moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored as an error allowed McCalmon to reach safely.
In the nightcap, Dartmouth put up two runs in the first; as McEachern sent out the third homer of the day with a runner on to give the Big Green an early 2-0 lead. In the second, Damore blasted a shot over the right field wall to give the team a three-run edge. The visitors took a five-run advantage in the fifth on three hits. Curosh led off the frame with a single to left field and advanced to third on a double down the right field line by McEachern. With runners in scoring position, McCalmon, the cleanup hitter, doubled to center that plated both runners.
Harvard made an attempted comeback in the bottom of the stanza, scoring twice on three hits to cut the deficit to 5-2. Dartmouth put the Crimson comeback to rest in the sixth with four runs on three hits. Rumley led off the inning with a hard shot that bounced off the right field fence for a stand-up double. Freshman Alyssa Loyless was brought in to pinch run, a move that paid off as she advanced to third on Damore’s single up the middle. With runners at the corners, the Green and White tacked on another run on a fielder’s choice by junior Megan Averitt.
With the bases loaded, a hard hit by McCalmon that popped out of the center fielders glove would see McEachern, Madill and Curosh all touch home plate with another three runs up on the scoreboard for the visitors.
Once again, Harvard used three pitchers in the second game. Cabe took the loss, tossing just two innings, but allowing three runs on five hits. Ricciardone pithed the middle four innings and was tagged for seven hits and six runs (three earned), while Morgan Groom pitched the final inning.
McCalmon, who replaced Rumley in the final inning of the first game, threw 4.2 innings and surrendered two runs on three hits. Rumley recorded the save after relieving McCalmon in the fifth. She allowed just three hits in the remaining 2.1 innings.
“Morgan really grew a lot this year, we have two number one pitchers now,” said Hanson. “I can put either in the circle at any time. She is mentally tough kid.”
Dartmouth swept Penn earlier this season in Hanover on April 5, 3-2 and 12-1 (5). This will be a rematch of the 2013 Ivy League Championship Series, one in which the Quakers earned a 2-1 series win.
Pre-Championship Series Quotes
On hosting the Ivy League Championship Series –
Rachel Hanson: There are definitely advantages being the home team. Last season we played on the road and Penn came away the winner. Its great for the players, they keep their normal routine and are ready to play.
Kristen Rumley: Our team is more then excited to host. It was a goal in our minds and now it’s a reality. It’s our game to win.
Alex St. Romain: We love to play at home with all of our fans supporting us in the hunt for Dartmouth’s first Ivy League Championship.
Kara Curosh: It’ll be great to be able to compete for an Ivy Title on our home field with our home fans. It’s always great to see the Dartmouth family get together to celebrate one team or another.