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Softball plays pair of doubleheaders at Columbia

The softball team will travel to New York City this weekend to play four games in two days against Columbia. The Tigers, who defeated Rutgers 5-3 late Thursday afternoon, are on a recent tear, winning six of their last seven games, while boosting their season record to 11-18 overall and 3-3 in the Ivy League. Princeton had success against Columbia last year, taking three of four games against the Lions. This weekend’s schedule will feature two games each day, with the first game starting at 12:30 p.m. and the second at 2:30 p.m.

Over the past few weeks, the Tiger pitching staff has performed well. Princeton freshman Erica Nori has been leading on the mound, with a 1.99 ERA over 63 and one-third innings, followed by sophomore Shanna Christian with a 4.24 ERA over 62 and two-thirds innings and junior Meredith Brown with an ERA of 4.79 over 38 innings. In the Tigers’ first game against Rider last week, freshman Claire Klausner took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, impressively allowing only two hits during the rest of the game.

Senior Maddie Cousens leads the team in hitting with a .323 batting average. Freshman Haley Hineman is second on the team in hitting with a .289 batting average after hitting her first home run of the season against Brown and is followed by sophomore Emily Viggers, who is currently batting .277.  Junior Rachel Rendina follows up with a batting average of .250 with 10 runs scored. During the two games against Rider, the Tigers managed a total of three home runs, one each from Klausner, Cousens and sophomore Kate Miller.

Columbia comes into the games after a rough week, losing two games to both Harvard and Dartmouth, and then splitting a doubleheader with Stony Brook. Columbia (15-15, 4-3 Ivy) is currently in third in the Ivy South Division, with Princeton in fourth. Columbia started the season strong, including an impressive 10-game winning streak, which it then followed with a five-game losing streak, losing its first league game to Dartmouth, which leads the Ivy North Division. The pitching staff has been strong enough to keep the Lions contending to win each game, despite the lack of runs from what is usually a strong lineup. Emily Kenyon leads the Lions’ pitching staff, with a 2.66 ERA over 52.2 innings, with Brooke Darling following with an ERA of 3.91 over 71.2 innings. The duo has combined thus far for 12 complete games this season. Alix Cook, a second team All-Ivy selection in 2013, leads the team with a .358 batting average and has struck out just six times in 95 at-bats. Adding to the Lions’ offense are Shelby Unger and Liz Caggiano with .321 and .313 batting averages, respectively. Five players for the Lions have batting averages over .300, and with Princeton’s strong pitching, this weekend could become a battleground between Columbia’s offensive production and the Tigers’ defensive fortitude.

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