In the penultimate weekend of their regular season, the Princeton softball clinched the Ivy League South Division and a spot in the Ivy League championship series after winning three out of four games against Columbia.
Due to concerns of rain, Princeton and Columbia began their series on April 21, a day earlier than expected. Princeton, as it so often has throughout the season, exhibited dominance on both sides of the ball during Friday’s doubleheader, scoring a combined 17 runs to Columbia’s six. The series opener began in back-and-forth fashion, as a pair of solo home runs gave Columbia an early lead, before Princeton rebounded in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead. Later in the inning, a two-run homer from freshman Allison Harvey would give Princeton a 5-2 lead that it would not surrender. Ultimately, the Tigers would win by a score of 9-6, with senior Claire Klausner pitching 6.2 innings to earn her the win and sophomore Riley Wilkinson pitching the final out in relief. In the second game of the doubleheader on April 22, Princeton scored early and often en route to a commanding 8-0 lead. Sophomore Kaylee Grant provided a two-run single in the first, and junior Danielle Dockx, senior Kelsey Smith, and Harvey provided RBIs in the second to open the floodgates and give the Tigers a 6-0 lead after just two innings. Senior Erica Nori was practically untouchable throughout the day, tossing a 5-inning shutout and only allowing a single hit.
Saturday’s matchups would be considerably more competitive, as Princeton eked out a tight comeback victory in the first game and dropped the second. Klausner began Saturday’s opener with a stellar effort, allowing no hits through duringthe first five innings. However, Princeton’s bats were shut down by the Columbia defense and Klausner conceded three runs in the sixth to give Columbia a 3-0 lead. Princeton rebounded in the bottom half with two runs of its own, but Columbia reopened the margin to 5-2 in the top half of the seventh. However, Princeton would piece together a remarkable rally in its final inning to score four runs and come away with an exhilarating 6-5 win. Later that day, however, perhaps worn down from the emotion of the previous game, Princeton performed uncharacteristically poorly, losing 9-4. The offense mustered only six runs, and Nori took just her second loss of the season, conceding four runs over 2.1 innings. Princeton also committed several costly defensive mistakes, allowing 4 unearned runs on 3 errors.
Despite the disappointing finale, Princeton locked up a spot in the Ivy League Championship Series and maintained its top spot in the Ivy League standings with a record of 13-3. The team will face Cornell next weekend needing to win only two of four games to guarantee the overall best record in the conference and secure home field advantage for the championship.