Ten pitchers, nine hits allowed, nine bases on balls and four hit batsmen.
There is a varying array of formulas to win a baseball game, but that isn’t one of them.
With a pair of doubleheaders slated for this weekend at Princeton, the Penn baseball team was limited in which pitchers it could use in its Wednesday matinee against La Salle.
Since top pitchers Vince Voiro and Cody Thomson were sitting out to rest, Cole decided to give his lesser-used arms an opportunity. But they couldn’t get the job done, and the Quakers fell to the Explorers, 11-4, at Meiklejohn Stadium.
“We pitched terrible today,” Cole said. “That’s why the score was what it was.”
It didn’t start out that way. Penn jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the third inning when rightfielder Ryan Deitrich hit his second of three doubles on the day — a drive down the left field line that was just fair enough to kick up some chalk dust when it landed.
“I was seeing the ball really well,” said Deitrich, who finished the day 3-for-5. “It always helps hitting here — the field plays really big, so seeing the wind blow out to left as a righthanded hitter gives you a little bit of extra confidence.”
Through the first four innings, four Penn pitchers breezed through the Explorers’ lineup and faced just one batter over the minimum, yielding only one hit while striking out three and walking two.
The next two frames, however, is when the game began to unravel.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Cole yanked righty John Beasley, his fifth pitcher of the day, and gave the ball to southpaw Alex Ott to gain a favorable matchup against lefthanded hitter Justin Korenblatt.
But Ott hit Korenblatt with his first pitch, forcing in La Salle’s first run of the day. One pitch later — a ball — and Cole was quick with the hook and called on senior lefty Chris McNulty.
“He was in there to get the lefty, he’s a left-on-left matchup guy, and he hit him,” Cole said. “That’s his job to get him out. And he didn’t get him.”
Penn’s pitching line in the fifth and sixth innings was drastically different than it was through the first four.
Using four different pitchers, the Quakers gave up six runs. While they allowed only three hits, they walked five and hit another two.
“We need to throw strikes,” Deitrich said. “Right now, we’re walking too many players, giving the other team too many freebies.”
In the game, Penn outhit La Salle, 10-9. But indeed, it was the Explorers’ 13 free passes to Penn’s four that gave them the advantage.
Next up for the Red and Blue will be a four-game series at Princeton this weekend, followed by Tuesday’s contest with St. Joe’s in the championship game of the Liberty Bell Classic at Citizens Bank Park.
“We’re going to be limited Tuesday night [pitching wise],” Cole said. “But I’m not even trying to think about Tuesday night … We focus on Princeton first.”