SMITHFIELD, R.I. – After a weekend of conference play on the road, the Bryant University softball team returns to Smithfield to host Harvard on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
The Bulldogs (7-27, 2-4 NEC) enter Tuesday's contest after going 2-2 in NEC play over the weekend. The Black and Gold earned their first conference win over Central Connecticut, 3-2, on Saturday, before falling in the second game, 4-1. The Bulldogs reversed the order on Sunday, losing first to Wagner, 3-0, before defeating the Seahawks, 4-1, in game two of the doubleheader. Splitting both series over the weekend boasted well for the Bulldogs, as Wagner ranks fourth in the NEC and Central seventh. Bryant currently sits in eighth in the league standings.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE?
Bryant remains winless at Conaty Park this season, sitting 0-5 on their home turf. The Harvard game marks the beginning of a five-game home stand, four of which come against conference foes. In Smithfield, the Bulldogs average .175, while competitors average .327. The Black and Gold have been outscored 23-8 at Conaty and total 21 hits and 37 strikeouts.
OH CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!
Junior Rachel Monroe (Southwick, Mass.) went 3-for-3 in the Bulldogs' first conference win of the season over Central Connecticut, 3-2, including a triple to right center that set up the game-winning run. The two-time captain was driven in for the game-winning run off a RBI knock to center field by freshman Gabrielle Ermish (Pottstown, Pa.).
KEAST THE BEAST
Senior Lauren Keast (Holliston, Mass.) went 3-for-3 in Bryant's 3-0 loss to Wagner in game one on Sunday, including a double in the top of the first. Keast improved to .190 on the season. The senior righty ranks 49th in the nation and second in the NEC with 0.23 sacrifice hits per game.
Against nonleague opponents, the Bulldogs bat .190, totaling 121 hits and 56 runs in 28 games. Three of Bryant's five homeruns this season have come against nonconference competitors, as well as 18 doubles and three triples.
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON
The Crimson are 11-14 on the season and enter Tuesday's game on a two-game losing streak, most recently falling to Princeton in an Ivy League doubleheader. At 3-5 in the Ivy, the Crimson rank sixth in the league. Harvard is 0-2 against nonleague New England competitors, losing both games to Connecticut at the Hawaii Invitational.
The Crimson are led by the bat of Rhianna Rich, who averages .437 on the season, ranking her 29th in country and first in the Ivy League. Rich ranks 36th toughest player to strikeout in the nation, striking out only three times in her 87 at bats.
WALK IT OUT
Kathleen Duncan of the Harvard pitching staff posts a 3.38 ERA and a record of 3-6 in the circle. Duncan averages 1.06 walks per inning, placing her third in the Ivy and 21st in the country, which could boast well for the Bulldogs looking to get runners on base.
Harvard averages a .963 fielding percentage, ranking fourth in the Ivy and 88th in the country, behind 10 players, who have appeared in 10 or more games, that have remained perfect in the field. Infielder Rhianna Rich leads the group with 59 putouts, 52 assists and 1.000 fielding percentage.