Following a twinbill sweep of Columbia Saturday, the Princeton softball team stands three games back of Penn in the Ivy League South standings with six to play.
Princeton pitchers Alex Peyton and Shanna Christian limited the Lions to one run over 16 innings in the doubleheader, but the Tigers fared only a bit better on offense, winning game one 3-0 and game two 2-1 in nine innings.
Princeton improved to 23-17 overall while Columbia fell to 20-20. The Tigers are now alone in second in the Ivy South, with Penn at 11-3 in league games, then Princeton at 8-6, followed by Cornell at 7-7 and Columbia at 6-8. Princeton and Columbia will meet again Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at the Class of 1895 Field while Penn and Cornell get together in Ithaca.
In the opener, Peyton (7-6) limited Columbia to four hits without a walk, striking out six. She retired 12 Lions in a row between the second and sixth innings, leaving Columbia runners at third base in the second and sixth innings.
Princeton put together the go-ahead run early, using a Lizzy Pierce double, an Alyssa Schmidt single and a Peyton groundout to go ahead 1-0 in the first. The lead became 3-0 in the third as Princeton took advantage of two Columbia errors to score twice. After a leadoff walk, the first error put runners at first and second, and on the same play as a Maddie Cousens RBI single, an overthrow brought home the inning's second run.
Columbia used three pitchers in the loss, with Emily Kenyon (8-9) taking the decision following three innings of work that saw her give up five hits and a walk, earning two of the three runs. Cousens, Kayla Bose and Nikki Chu co-led Princeton at the plate in the opener, each going 2 for 3.
In the nightcap, errors again were Columbia's ultimate undoing in a game where both teams squandered their share of opportunities. Princeton left 11 runners on base to Columbia's six, with five of the Tiger runners stranded in scoring position to four of those for the Lions.
Princeton again scored in the first inning, this time using singles from Rachel Rendina and Pierce followed by a Schmidt groundout to plate the second game's opening run. Columbia tied it in the top of the second, as Mackensy Lakian doubled home Kayla Shimoda, who was hit by a pitch.
That's where it stayed until the ninth. Princeton reached Cara Worden on a booted ball at shortstop, followed by Nikki Chu on a dropped fly when two Lions converged around first base. Princeton then loaded the bases when Tory Roberts put down a single that died in the saturated dirt in front of home plate. A four-pitch walk to Rendina decided it, and the Tigers won 2-1.
Christian (8-5) gave up five hits and a walk, striking out four while going all nine innings. Columbia's Brooke Darling (8-8) also went the distance, giving up 10 hits and two walks while no Tigers struck out in the nightcap. Peyton went 3 for 4 to lead the Tigers in game two.