In its final weekend of regular season action, the Princeton softball team locked down the South Division title and gained a berth in the Ivy League Championship Series for the first time since 2008. A four-game weekend sweep of rival Cornell guaranteed the Tigers a place in the ILCS, and was also the first four-game sweep of the Big Red in program history.
The Tigers got off to a hot start in Friday’s two road games at Cornell, winning the first game 10-1. Senior Skye Jerpbak highlighted Princeton’s offensive outburst, going 4-for-4 with five runs batted in on two home runs and a triple. Senior Shanna Christian had a strong performance on the mound, holding the Big Red to just one run and three hits over six innings of work. While the Tigers scored just four runs in the second game, the pitching staff stood tall as sophomore Ashley La Guardia and freshman Riley Wilkinson surrendered just two runs and four hits combined to give the Tigers their second win of the weekend.
The final two games of the series shifted home to Class of 1895 Field on Saturday. In the first game of the twin bill, the Tigers led 4-2 going into the top of the seventh, but the Big Red threatened after scoring on a two-out, bases-loaded walk to pull within one run. Wilkinson came in and finished off the final batter, however, her fourth save of the season and a program single-season record. The second game saw the Tigers’ bats come to life in a 12-2 thrashing. Senior Emily Viggers led the offense’s 12-run effort with five runs batted in, which included her first career grand slam at Princeton.
In sweeping Cornell over the weekend, in addition to taking three of four games against both Penn and Columbia earlier this season, Princeton won all three series against Ivy South opponents for the first time since 2008. With their place in the ILCS secured, the Tigers will be the away team in the series against either Harvard or Dartmouth. Weather conditions postposed the finale of the Harvard-Dartmouth series to Tuesday. With a one-game lead in the Ivy North over Dartmouth, Harvard needs just one win on Tuesday to force the Tigers to Cambridge for the ILCS next weekend. Games 1 and 2 of the championship series will be played Saturday, and if necessary Game 3 will be on Sunday.