Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications
TUCSON, Ariz. -- In the first elimination game of the 2011 NCAA Softball Tucson Regional, the Harvard softball team was unable to get its bats going, falling, 7-0, to Texas Tech Saturday afternoon at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. With the loss, Harvard (36-16) becomes the first team eliminated from the Tucson regional, while the Red Raiders move on to play New Mexico State, which fell to Arizona, 8-0, in Saturday's first game.
Through four games of the Tucson regional, every contest has been a shutout. NMSU blanked Texas Tech, 9-0, in the first game of the tourney and No. 10 Arizona topped Harvard, 10-0, Friday night. The Crimson moves to 3-8 all-time in NCAA action with the loss.
The Red Raiders got to Harvard starter Laura Ricciardone early, knocking the rookie out after bringing home six runs on seven hits on just one out. Cydney Allen logged the biggest hit of the inning for Texas Tech, launching a three-run double to the right-center field gap to put the score at 6-0. Rachel Brown relieved Ricciardone and got the Crimson out of the inning after seeing one more run cross to make it 7-0 after half an inning.
Brown restored order quickly, getting three quick outs in the second and striking out two batters in a one-two-three inning in the third to keep the Raiders off the scoreboard. The Crimson got something going in the second when Marika Zumbro pushed a single over the shortstop's head and Whitney Shaw reached base after getting hit by a pitch. Jane Alexander got a solid piece of a rise ball on a one-and-two count, but it was right to the third baseman, who gloved it to quell the threat.
Harvard put two runners on again in the bottom of the fourth. Kasey Lange led off with an infield single to second base and after an Allison Scott fielder's choice, Emily Henderson drew a walk with a heady at-bat. Texas Tech pitcher Kelsey Dennis made a good pitch to Harvard seven-hitter Shaw, getting her to pop up to the catcher to end the frame.
Brown continued to sit down the Red Raider hitters, putting together back-to-back one-two-three innings in the fifth and sixth to keep the deficit at seven runs for the Crimson. Fellow lefty Brittany Talley came in to pitch for Dennis in the fifth inning for Texas Tech and was workmanlike, sitting down the Crimson in order in the fifth and sixth innings. Brown recorded her fifth-straight one-two-three inning of the game in the top of the seventh, bringing the Crimson into the final frame with a seven-run hole.
Talley fanned two Harvard batters in the final inning to seal the 7-0 victory for the Raiders. The Crimson wraps up its season with a 36-16 overall record, which stands as a program record.