PRINCETON, N.J. -- Senior Maggie Johnson hurled the first no-hitter of her career as the Columbia softball team took a 2-0 decision from Princeton in the second half of Sunday's Ivy League doubleheader. In the first contest, the Lions overcame an early deficit for a 5-3 win. With the two victories, Columbia extends its winning streak to six games and improves to 15-24 on the season and 5-9 in the conference.
The no-hitter was the first by a Columbia pitcher since Maiya Chard-Yaron turned the trick against Fairfield on April 2, 2006.
Johnson showed right from the start that she had dominant stuff, as she struck out the first three batters she faced in the bottom of the first inning. After Columbia received a pair of two-out hits in the top half but couldn't score, Johnson set down Nicole Ontiveros, Candace Button and Kelsey VandeBerghe on strikes.
After a scoreless second by both teams, the Lions got on the scoreboard in the top of the third thanks to a two-out rally. Sophomore Jennifer Bergeron was hit by a pitch with two down, stole second base and then scored on a single to center from senior Anne Marie Skylis.
Johnson allowed her first baserunner in the bottom of the third, but the Danville, Calif. native worked around the two-out walk to keep Columbia in front, 1-0.
Princeton was able to work another walk from Johnson in the fourth frame, however could not advance further than first as the senior hurler induced a fielder's choice and a fly ball to end the threat.
The top of the fifth saw the Lions add to their lead. First-year Emily Caruthers singled to lead off, and stole her 11th base of the season to advance to second. With the theft, Caruthers broke Columbia's single-season record in stolen bases that she had held with former Lions Kacy Krisman and Nikki Campbell.
With a runner on second, first-year Morgan Cook singled to left to put runners on the corners with one down. Bergeron drove home Caruthers one batter later with a groundout to put the visitors up 2-0.
The two-run cushion would be more than enough for Johnson, as the Tigers managed just one base runner over the final three innings of play. With the no-hit shutout, Johnson lowered her ERA to 1.95 on the season. Skylis was the only Lion to have multiple hits in the contest, as she finished 2-for-3.
Princeton hopped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second, with Ontiveros' two-run double providing the big blow in the frame. The Tigers had four hits through the first two innings against first-year Prophet Gaspard, but mustered just one for the remaining five innings.
The Lions had a prime chance to cut into their deficit in the third, as two walks and an error loaded the bases with two down. With Johnson at the plate, the third-base umpire ruled that the Columbia runner on third left early to end the threat.
In the fifth, the Lions finally got on the board with senior Karen Tulig starting things off with a single. Tulig subsequently stole second, and moved to third on another single from first-year Emily Snodgrass.
With runners on the corners, Cook drove home Tulig on an infield single to pull Columbia to within 3-1. After a fielder's choice cut down the lead runner at third to give the Tigers two outs, Skylis reached on an error to load the bases for Johnson. Showing patience at the plate, Johnson worked a walk to force around Cook and make the score 3-2.
Another miscue by Princeton, a fielding error by the third baseman, on a ball hit by senior Stephanie Yagi knotted the contest at 3-3. The Tigers escaped further damage by getting a grounder to second to end the inning.
Gaspard worked around a walk in the bottom of the fifth, bringing Columbia back to the plate in the top of the sixth searching for the lead. After the Tigers got the first two outs of the inning, Snodgrass singled, stole second, stole third and scored on a single from Bergeron to put Columbia on top for the first time all afternoon.
An error on the Tigers, their fourth of the game, allowed Cook, who had walked prior to the Bergeron single, to score and give the Lions some breathing room. Gaspard would do the rest, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh to pick up her 11th win of the year.
The same two teams will meet again for another doubleheader on Tuesday, April 26, beginning at 3 p.m.