Softball Finishes Winningest Campaign Since '06 with Split at Cornell
The softball teams from Princeton and Cornell just can't seem to get enough of each other.
A year after racking up 37 innings in a four-game series, the Tigers and Big Red played 38 frames this time around Princeton matched its most successful result against Cornell since the teams began playing four-game series against each other in 2007.
Cornell (20-26, 8-12) won Sunday's first game 1-0 in 15 innings before Princeton run-ruled the Big Red 11-2 in six innings in the second game, closing Princeton's 2013 season at 27-19 for the program's most wins since 2006, when it went 34-19.
Princeton finished the Ivy at 12-8, good for second in the Ivy South division on the day next weekend's Ivy League Championship Series pairings were finalized. The Quakers won the South by four games over Princeton and will host Dartmouth, which won the North by two games over Harvard. It was Princeton's best record in league play since 2008, when the program set an Ivy wins record by going 18-2.
With the victories, Princeton also made its first-year head coach, Lisa Sweeney, the winningest rookie mentor of the five in program history and with the second-highest winning percentage (.587) after the program's first head coach, Diane Schumacher, went 12-7 (.706) in 1982.
In the opener, a leadoff walk was trouble for Princeton and Alex Peyton (8-8) in the 15th inning as Cornell's Christina Villalon doubled home Sam Creamer for the game's only run to end Princeton's longest contest since a 20-inning 2-1 loss at Harvard in 2004.
Each team left 15 runners on base during the long game, as Peyton and Alyson Onyon went the distance for both sides. Peyton allowed 12 hits and four walks, striking out six, while Onyon allowed eight hits and four walks in the lengthy shutout, striking out seven. Lizzy Pierce, Alyssa Schmidt and Danielle Allen each had two hits for the Tigers.
In the nightcap, it was Peyton's fellow senior Liza Kuhn's (6-3) turn to close her Tiger career in the circle, as she held the Big Red to five hits and three walks while striking out five in six innings of work.
Princeton jumped on Cornell pitcher Sammy Roth, led by Rachel Rendina, Maddie Cousens and Nikki Chu each getting three hits. Cousens, Candy Button and Kayla Bose each homered in the game, Button doing so in her final collegiate at-bat to drive in three runs and put Princeton over the run-rule threshold to help end the game early.
Princeton scored in five of the six innings, trailing only after Cornell got two runs on four hits in the bottom of the first. Princeton got the runs right back in the top of the second to take a 3-2 lead and never trailed again.