Dartmouth Big Green vs.
Harvard Crimson
Location: Hanover, N.H. – Dartmouth Softball Park
Date: Saturday, May 12 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Sunday, May 13, at 12 p.m. (if necessary)


This weekend Dartmouth hosts Harvard in the Ivy League Championship Series, where the winner of two games will earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals that begin next week. 

This will be the third-straight ILCS appearance for Harvard, but the last time the Crimson won the title was in 2012. Harvard is the second-place team in the conference after finishing with a 14-7 record in league play. The Crimson dropped series against Cornell and Brown this year but swept both Penn and Princeton on their way to another shot at the Ivy crown. Harvard has had more time to prepare after concluding the season on April 29, one week earlier than the Big Green. Junior Katie Duncan was named the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year this week when the All-Ivy awards were announced. She was one of seven members of the team to receive an honor. Duncan was a unanimous selection after completing a very strong season on the mound with a 2.66 ERA and a 14-9 overall record. In the April series between Dartmouth and Harvard, Duncan pitched the entire first game that went into extra innings, tying her game-best seven strikeouts, sealed the win and then returned to close out the second game of the afternoon earning a save. She is joined by teammates Rhianna Rich, Maddy Kaplan and Meagan Lantz on the All-Ivy First Team. Rich leads the Crimson and is tied for first in the league with a .455 batting average and was also a unanimous selection for the first team at shortstop. Three other Harvard players received All-Ivy accolades. 

Harvard is the only team Dartmouth dropped a series to in conference play this season with all three games played in Cambridge and the home team winning the first two. The first game of the series went into 11 innings and ended on a walk-off single from Rich with a final score of 6-5, and the second game of the doubleheader ended 4-1 with the road team only getting one run on a solo home run from Morgan Martinelli. All three games had the intensity of a championship series, and the Big Green finally came out victorious in the series finale, 3-1,  on McKenna Gray’s three-run homer in the first inning. 

Dartmouth has been named the 2018 Ivy League champion announced by the conference earlier this week. The Big Green finished the year in first place in the league with a 16-5 record, thus earning the right to host the ILCS. If the second-place team, Harvard, wins the championship series it will join Dartmouth as co-champions. 

The Big Green were well represented in the All-Ivy awards that were released this week, including head coach Shannon Doepking being named Ivy League Coach of the Year and catcher Schae Nelson receiving Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors. Nelson was also a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy First Team, along with pitcher Breanna Ethridge. Joining Ethridge and Nelson on the First Team are Morgan Martinelli and Taylor Ward, while Micah Schroder and Heather Turner were both honored on the All-Ivy Second Team.

Dartmouth last played in the ILCS in 2015, which was also hosted in Hanover, and took down Penn in two games. The Big Green have competed in three total Ivy championships and have a 2-1 record in the series. Harvard faced Princeton last year and hosted the series but the Tigers came out victorious, becoming the first team to win the ILCS on the road.

Before the 2018 season began the Ivy League softball preseason poll released with Princeton selected to three-peat as the league champion. Dartmouth was picked to finish fifth in the league after finishing fifth in 2017. Starting with the Cornell series this season, the Big Green have won 10 of the last 12 game and are on a seven-game win streak. Dartmouth leads the conference in team ERA with 3.23 and Ethridge is first in strikeouts with 106. Schroder finished the season in the top-10 league categories for batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, runs scored, hits, RBI, doubles, home runs and walks. 

The ILCS will be broadcast on the Ivy League Network for subscribers. The ILN is available on Apple TV, Roku and the ILN App for Android and Apple devices. Live stats will be provided by DartmouthSports.com. 

The winner of this weekend’s championship will earn the Ivy League’s bid to the NCAA Division I Softball Championship starting at Regionals on May 18. Sunday night is the selection show which begins at 10 p.m. on ESPN2.