Penn baseball drops six of eight on Spring Break road trip

Quakers drop several close games as Connor Cuff dazzles opponents

· March 17, 2014, 1:49 am   ·  Updated March 17, 2014, 2:09 am

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Patrick Hulce | DP

Penn junior starter Connor Cuff limited Navy to one run in eight innings while striking out six batters, helping him receive Big 5 Player of the Week


You’d be hard pressed to find anyone with a busier spring break than Penn baseball, a team that played eight games in a 10-day span.

Traversing the Mid-Atlantic, the Quakers went 2-6 against solid competition.

Although Penn (2-9) dropped six of its eight contests over the break, the Red and Blue were competitive throughout, losing by no more than two runs during the trip.

Junior righty Connor Cuff, who was named the Big 5 Player of the Week, solidified himself as Penn’s number one while another pitcher, Jeff McGarry, emerged as a surprise slugger.

In clashes with Navy and Towson, the Penn bats could not provide enough support for their pitchers’ solid performances in cold conditions.

The Quakers were edged 2-1 by Navy (9-9) on Friday in a game where errors accounted for two of the Midshipmen’s three runs.

Cuff did all he could to keep the Red and Blue in the game, fanning six and giving up one earned run in eight innings of work.

Towson (9-5) held on for a 4-2 win over Penn the following afternoon.

The Tigers scored all four of their runs in the first five innings off of junior southpaw Ronnie Glenn, who suffered his second loss of the young season.

The Quakers plated runners off of a Mitch Montaldo double and Brandon Engelhardt single in the seventh, but would not get any closer.

The Red and Blue came up short once again on Sunday, losing 7-5 to Monmouth (3-9).

The Hawks’ bats came alive in the fifth as they scored four runs off of four hits in the top of the frame. Gautieri, who struck out nine, left in the seventh and Monmouth expanded its lead in the top of the eighth off the Penn bullpen.

The Quakers and new head coach John Yurkow finally found their elusive first win at Delaware State (9-5) on Tuesday, as they swept an afternoon doubleheader by scores of 4-1 and 17-9, respectively.

McGarry had an RBI single in the third and a solo shot in the sixth to put the Quakers ahead, 2-1, in the first game. Marshall Harden provided some insurance with a two-run single in the seventh to make the score 4-1.

In what was an offensive eruption, the Quakers scattered 14 hits and blasted three home runs in a 17-9 victory to complete the afternoon sweep of Delaware State.

McGarry, sophomore Ryan Mincher and junior Matt McKinnon all went deep. McGarry and McKinnon were also two of Penn’s five players with multiple hits.

Making his first start, freshman left-hander Jack Hartman allowed two runs in five innings to earn his first career win. A five-man relief effort capped off by sophomore Mitch Holtz was enough to keep the Hornets at bay.

The Quakers reverted to losing by slim margins again during the second weekend of the trip against Richmond (7-10-1).

The Spiders swept the three game series by scores of 6-5, 5-3 and 1-0, respectively.

In the first and most eventful game of the series, the two squads played extra innings after being tied at three runs apiece. A two-run homer from Connor Betbeze in the top of the 11th gave Penn a 5-3 lead, but the Spiders countered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame and walked off with a win.

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