The Princeton softball team will remain alive for the Ivy League South title after a split at Columbia Saturday, but the Tigers will need a lot of help from these same Lions when they head to Philadelphia next weekend.
Princeton, of course, will also need to have a strong weekend at home against Cornell when the Big Red come to town Saturday and Sunday. At minimum, Princeton will need to take three of four against the Big Red and see Columbia take three of four from Penn.
The Quakers and Big Red finished their series in Philadelphia Sunday with Penn taking three out of four, putting those two teams in a tie atop the division at 11-5. Princeton is three games back at 8-8, Columbia stands eliminated at 6-10.
Whichever team wins the Ivy South will likely head to Harvard, as the Crimson have already wrapped up the Ivy North division and need only one win, or one more loss by whichever team emerges from the Ivy South, to clinch hosting the Ivy League Championship Series.
Game 1: Princeton 2, Columbia 0
Alex Peyton tossed a five-hit shutout and the Princeton softball team defeated Columbia 2-0 in Saturday's first game.
Brooke Darling (8-15) gave up eight hits for Columbia, just one of them coming in the decisive fifth inning. A double by Kelsey VandeBergh and a Darling error put runners on first and second for the Tigers with none out, and a walk to Maddie Cousens loaded the bases. Sarah McGowan picked up an RBI with a bases-loaded walk, and two batters later, Candy Button also walked to put the Tigers up 2-0.
No Columbia runner got past second base until two were out in the bottom of the seventh, and Peyton (6-11) got the final out to preserve both the shutout and the win. VandeBergh had two of Princeton's eight hits in the opener.
Game 2: Columbia 8, Princeton 2
Princeton outhit the Lions in the series finale, but the Tigers left 10 on base as Columbia came away with a split and an 8-2 win.
All three Tiger pitchers saw action in the game, but none left without allowing a run.
Princeton scored first, with Alex Peyton singling home Nicole Ontiveros, who led off the game with her own single. That gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, but Columbia answered with three in the bottom of the first. Liz Caggiano took advantage of two walks to her teammates by hitting a three-run home run against Liza Kuhn (6-11).
When Columbia's Kayla Shimoda led off the second inning with a double, Alex Peyton took the circle but allowed the inherited run to score on an Alison Lam single to put Columbia ahead 4-1. The Lions added another in the third when Emily Caruthers singled to capitalize on a bases-loaded situation and give her team a 5-1 lead.
Sarah McGowan's solo home run cut the deficit to 5-2 in the top of the fourth, but that was as close as Princeton came to a comeback. Two hits and an error helped Columbia score three runs in the fifth to make the final 8-2 margin. Kalli Schultea tossed the first 3 1/3 innings for Columbia before leaving with two on in the fourth and getting Brooke Darling to pull the Lions out of the inning without further damage.
The Tigers will return to the New York area for a single game at Hofstra Tuesday at 5 p.m. before hosting Cornell next weekend.