The Quakers knew what was at stake heading into their four-game series with Cornell at Meiklejohn Stadium.
Win three out of four to remain in contention. Any less than that and they would be mathematically eliminated from Ivy playoff contention.
The Penn baseball team fell short against division leader Cornell. Dropping three of four, the Quakers (16-20, 7-9 Ivy) are officially done.
It was a lackluster offense that did the Quakers in. The Big Red (27-11-1, 13-3) have proved they will not let their opponents score easily, ranking first in the league in ERA and opponents’ batting average.
In the first game of the series, Cornell handed the Red and Blue their first shutout of the season.
Although, sophomore Cody Thomson pitched a complete game, only giving up three runs, Penn could not crack Cornell starter Rick Marks, who allowed just five hits. Penn only advanced runners to second base twice.
“[The bats] get hot and they get cold,” senior pitcher Vince Voiro said. “If they get cold at the wrong time of the season, this kind of thing happens.”
The second game spelled more trouble for the Quakers — this time pitching — as sophomore starter Matt Gotschall managed only one complete inning.
After giving up three walks in the second, Gotschall hit the next batter to give Cornell the first run of the game.
Coach John Cole then called on freshman Sam Horn, but Horn would hit the following batter to give Cornell another run and spark a rally that put the Quakers in an early 5-0 hole.
Despite stringing together some hits late in the game, the Quakers could not make up the deficit, losing 9-5.
Penn wouldn’t have to wait long to be shutout again.
In Saturday’s first game, Voiro got the nod and gave the Quakers a shot to stay in the game. After giving up three runs in the first, Voiro settled down and didn’t allow Cornell to score in the final six innings.
However, Cornell pitcher Connor Kaufmann would not give Penn any room to come back, allowing only three hits and completing the seven-inning shutout.
“Our offense this weekend was non-existent,” Cole said. “We pitched pretty well, so if we had swung the bat I think we would have been alright. But Cornell’s a good club. That’s why they’re in first place, because they pitch and play defense.”
Kaufmann, who pitched a no-hitter against division leader Dartmouth on April 1, has been nearly unhittable in conference play. In four Ivy League starts, Kaufmann is 3-0 with a 0.66 ERA.
“There’s a reason numbers are what they are,” Cole said.
In the series finale, Penn avoided the sweep with a 4-3 win.
The Red and Blue finally gave their pitcher some early support, plating three in the first two frames. Although Cornell battled back to tie it in the sixth, a bobble by Big Red shortstop Marshall Yanzick in the bottom of the seventh ultimately gave the Quakers the 4-3 win.
But at that point, the Quakers had already been eliminated from the Ivy race.
“It was definitely a disappointing weekend,” Voiro said. “We took our team out of contention.”