By Sunday evening, the Princeton softball team will be anywhere from two games ahead in the Ivy South standings to eliminated from the race.
The division enters the weekend with Penn (7-4) a game and a half ahead of both Princeton (6-6) and Cornell (5-5). Columbia (5-7) is two and a half games back. If Princeton sweeps Penn, it will be in first place, anywhere from tied to two games ahead. If the Tigers are swept by Penn, the Quakers will be too far ahead of Princeton to catch in the season's final weekend.
The possibilities are that wide, depending not just on how Princeton and Penn do head-to-head but on the outcome of the Columbia-Cornell series Saturday and Sunday in Ithaca.
Saturday vs. Penn, 12:30 p.m.: Game 1 Live Stats | Game 2 Live Stats | Video | Twitter
Sunday vs. Penn, 12:30 p.m.: Game 1 Live Stats | Game 2 Live Stats | Video | Twitter
Here's a look at Princeton and Penn heading into the twinbill:
|Princeton | Stats
Record: 14-21, 6-6 Ivy
Top Two Pitchers: Erica Nori, Fr., 7-6, 2.13 ERA, 82 IP; Shanna Christian, So., 5-9, 3.95 ERA, 78 IP
Team BA: .232 | Team ERA: 3.44
|Penn | Stats
Record: 12-16, 7-4 Ivy
Top Two Pitchers: Alexis Sargent, Fr., 5-4, 1.60 ERA, 48 IP; Alexis Borden, Jr., 6-8, 2.35 ERA, 89 1/3 IP
Team BA: .268 | Team ERA: 3.20
Princeton holds a 54-21 all-time advantage over Penn, but the Tigers will have to overcome some recent history favoring the Quakers. The teams have been playing a four-game series each year since 2007, and Princeton's only series win came in 2008. Penn has won the series 3-1 every year since, except for a sweep in 2011.
Penn used four pitchers in last year's series, but junior Alexis Borden threw 20 1/3 of the 28 innings against the Tigers and was 2-0 with another no-decision in a Quakers comeback win to open the series. For the Tigers, Shanna Christian is the only returning pitcher from the series, and she picked up the win in the second of the four-game series.
At the plate, Penn scored 27 runs in the four-game series last year, an average of nearly seven per game. This year, the Quakers are averaging almost four runs per game, with this year's Tigers averaging nearly three runs a game.
Among Tiger notes, a trio of juniors enter the weekend with hit streaks of note. Rachel Rendina has a six-game streak going, and Alyssa Schmidt has a five-game streak. Cara Worden has hit in a team-best seven in a row, hitting .429 (9-21) over that span.
After the Penn games, Princeton will host Cornell next weekend for a four-game series to end the regular season.