Princeton softball travelled to New England this weekend for a string of games against two opponents in the Ivy League North Division, Harvard and Dartmouth. Coming off an opening weekend to Ivy League play in which the team emerged undefeated, Princeton protected its first-place position in the conference. The team dropped both games of its Saturday doubleheader against Dartmouth, but rebounded well on Sunday, winning twice against Harvard.
Saturday’s doubleheader against Dartmouth began in disappointing fashion for the Tigers, as the team’s bats were ineffective in the first of the matchups. Dartmouth pitcher Breanna Ethridge shut down the team offensively, limiting them to five hits, a walk, and no runs. Senior pitcher Claire Klausner tossed three shutout innings but allowed a three-run homer in the fourth to give Dartmouth a lead it would not squander. Ultimately, Princeton would fall 6-0.
The Tigers would face another disappointment in the nightcap, blowing a four-run lead to endure a one-run defeat. Princeton opened a 5-1 lead early on after scoring four runs in a second inning punctuated by a two-run single by freshman Allison Harvey. However, senior starting pitcher Erica Nori conceded runs in the third and fourth innings to cut the margin to 5-3, and a Princeton error in the fifth contributed to a three-run inning for Dartmouth, giving Dartmouth a 6-5 lead that they would protect over the next two innings.
Undoubtedly fueled by the disappointing start to the weekend, Princeton came out strong in Sunday’s doubleheader against Harvard. The Tigers scored early and often in the first game of the series to score a commanding 10-2 win in six innings. Sophomore Kaylee Grant led the charge with a 4-RBI game, and Grant, freshman outfielder Megan Donahey, and senior outfielder Marissa Reynolds scored two runs apiece.
Klausner was stellar on the mound for the Tigers. She allowed a run in the first but shut down Harvard’s offense from that point onward, conceding only one run over the next five innings.
Princeton completed the sweep later that night with a 6-2 victory. With a three-run third inning highlighted by a Grant home run, Princeton leaped out to another early lead. Harvard would claw back to bring the margin to 3-2, but Princeton reopened the lead with another three-run inning in the sixth. Sophomore pitcher Riley Wilkinson worked the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings for Princeton, holding Harvard scoreless to secure her first save of the season. Starter Nori earned her sixth win of the season, allowing only one earned- run over four innings.
While Princeton maintained its position at the top of the Ivy League standings, it will face yet another challenged next weekend with a four-game series at Penn, second in the Ivy League South with a 5-3 conference record. Thus, the high stakes surrounding the series will make the rivalry all the more intense.