Softball pours on Providence in five
It was a miserable day to be a Providence Friar.
The softball team from Rhode Island's capital city traveled 175 miles to Hanover to play only four-and-a-half innings in a torrential downpour and get crushed, 8-0, by the hot-hitting Dartmouth Big Green.
The second half of the doubleheader at Sachem Field was cancelled because of the conditions.
If the Big Green was bothered by the driving rain that at times seemed to be moving sideways because of the gusting wind, it didn't appear that way. The team put together rallies in every inning and received hits from seven of the nine batters, led by junior Carly Haggard's 3-for-3 performance.
"We're used to playing like this because we've practiced in the cold weather," Haggard, who scored a run and also had two RBI, said. "When you're up 8-0, how can it not be fun? At the beginning it was pretty miserable, and I'm sure it was miserable for them. At the end, you're so wet you just want to get out of there."
The Big Green (23-14, 6-6 Ivy League) returned home from an eight-game road trip in which it went 5-3. The team was tabbed 10th in the latest Northeast regional rankings, the first time in the program's history that it has been included in the poll.
The team wasted no time celebrating its homecoming, sending eight batters to plate in the first inning and scoring three runs in the frame.
That rally set the tone for the rainy afternoon, which ended in a mercy-rule win as the Big Green plated one run in both the second and third innings and three in the fourth to attain the requisite eight runs.
"I thought we hit their pitchers pretty hard," head coach Steffany Bender said. "It's hard to say what a good-weather day would have brought to their pitching. I felt like their pitchers were on, but I still thought we hit them hard. Our offense has been something we've worked on the past couple days, and all our hitters battled hard and did a good job."
While the Big Green bats were on fire, sophomore right-hander Danica Giugliano battled through the conditions to shut down the injury-plagued Friars (13-33-1, 4-12 Big East).
Giugliano (6-5) did not let a runner get to third base and allowed runners to reach second base only three times. She struck out five, walked three and allowed four hits in five innings, lowering her ERA to 2.39.
"I thought Danica pitched very, very well under the circumstances," Bender said. "It's one thing if it's cold and not raining, and it's another thing if it's raining and not cold, but to have both, you're having a hard time feeling the ball because you can't feel your hand, and your arm is stiffening up. Considering all that, I thought she really stayed tough. Her pitches were still breaking at the end."
The Big Green began its onslaught early, plating three in the first as the first three batters -- Sarah Damon '02, Lisa Caruso '04 and Kristin King '02 -- all scored. The big hit was a two-out, two-run single to left field by Haggard.
In the second, Damon scored again, trotting to the plate when Kisa Brannen '03 walked with the bases loaded.
Haggard scored in the third inning, crossing the plate with Dartmouth's fifth run when Damon reached on an infield dribbler. Damon's hit extended her hitting streak to 10 games, during which she is batting .438 (15-for-35).
The Big Green batted around in the fourth frame, scoring three to stretch its lead to 8-0. Jodee Thompson '05 had a double in the inning, while Adrienne Draper '04 and Haggard both had singles, and Brannen had a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield.
Giugliano shut the Friars down in the top of the fifth, ending the game and the afternoon's action.
"I'm really proud of our girls for staying tough," Bender said. "I don't really know how they did it. It's uncomfortable as a coach, and I can stay dressed up. When you're out there playing, you have to have your hands and feet ready to go and you're hitting the ball, and it can sting when it hits the bat.
"But they stayed tough, and I'm glad to get out of here with a 'W.'"
The Big Green has its final scheduled home games of the season tomorrow, closing out the Ivy docket with a doubleheader against Harvard.
Before the twinbill, the team will honor its four seniors -- Damon, King, Cherie Comeau '02 and Carla Giuglinao '02.
"We love playing on Sachem Field," Bender said. "Our team has a good time here. It's good to have our fans, and hopefully we'll have a bunch of people come out on Saturday."