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Softball takes one of four from Penn on weekend

temp_7612The South Division leading Penn Quakers held off the recently surging Tigers in softball over the weekend, winning three out of four games in two doubleheaders. The Tigers dropped Saturday’s twinbill by scores of 11-1 and 4-3, although they salvaged the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader 9-6, after losing the first game 6-2. This weekend further solidified Penn’s (15-17 overall, 10-5 Ivy League) lead in the Ivy South Division, with Princeton (15-24, 7-9) dropping to third place in the standings.

“This weekend was a bit unfortunate because we are competitors with Penn, and we can go toe-to-toe with them, but it just didn’t go our way this weekend,” sophomore pitcher Shanna Christian said. “We put our best stuff forward, unfortunately not until the fourth game. If we had come out with that earlier, we could have had a different outcome.”

On Saturday, the Tigers scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning when junior Cara Worden singled in freshman Haley Hineman. Worden went three for six in Saturday’s doubleheader, including a home run in the second game, stretching her hitting streak to nine games, an impressive stretch in which she went 12 for 27 and batted .444. The Quakers scored a run in the top of the second inning to tie the game but later blew the game open, garnering three and seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, retiring Princeton by a lead of 10 runs after Penn’s Leah Allen hit her second home run of the game, an Ivy-leading 11th home run for this season. During the second game on Saturday, Penn maintained only a one-run lead from the fourth through seventh innings, but solid fielding by the Quakers prevented Princeton from being able to tie the game. In the bottom of the sixth inning with one out and sophomore Emily Viggers on second after a double, Penn managed two solid defensive plays to extinguish the Tiger rally, a shoestring catch on sophomore Skye Jerpbak’s fly ball and a diving catch at shortstop of a line drive hit by junior Rachel Rendina, both preventing Viggers from scoring.

On Sunday during the first game, Penn picked up three early runs in the second, holding on to win the game 6-2. The Tigers managed to scrape up a run in the second and third innings, but Penn’s two-time first-team All-Ivy Alexis Borden locked down Princeton the rest of the way, allowing no additional runs. In the second game, with nine runs and 11 hits, Princeton played up to its potential. By the fourth inning, Princeton was already up 9-1, and while Penn managed a run in the fifth inning and four in the sixth, it was not enough to catch up with the Tigers. Hineman played notably well on Sunday, going four for seven during the day, with three RBIs in the second game. Unfortunately, Worden saw her nine-game hit streak end on Sunday.

“We did some good pitching and effectively hit with some solid defense and big plays when needed. It was just really exciting to see what we brought to the fourth game. We played freely and had a lot of fun,” Christian said, who believes that the team can carry the momentum from the last game into this weekend’s games against Cornell. “In the last game Sunday, we were just playing for pride, and that’s what we’ll be doing, wearing the name Princeton with pride.”

In order for Princeton to tie first-place Penn in the standings, Princeton will need to sweep Cornell in their four-game series next weekend, and Penn would need to lose four of its last five games. Such a scenario would leave Princeton, Columbia and Penn all tied at 11-9 at the season’s end, assuming Columbia hands Penn three losses in their four-game series this weekend.

 

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