After competing in its first 11 games on the road, Penn baseball will finally be in familiar territory this weekend.
Penn’s Meiklejohn Stadium will get its first action of the season as the Quakers will host Lafayette in their home opener. The home and home series should help the Red and Blue get more comfortable playing in their own stadium for the first time.
“We’ve been doing a decent job pitching and playing defense,” coach John Yurkow said. “It’s a matter now of us getting a big hit when we need one.”
Both teams will be looking to rebound after some tough losses in the state of Virginia. The Leopards (5-7), dropped three straight in Richmond, Va. against VCU, Buffalo, and Rutgers while Penn (2-9) lost all three games in its series against Richmond.
Recent weather patterns have brought plenty of wind into the Philadelphia area which could make for a low-scoring affair. Penn is 0-5 when scoring less than four runs and has lost eight of its nine games by either one or two runs.
“It’s been kind of crazy how many one or two run games [we’ve had],” Yurkow said. “We need to do a better job in the close games.”
The coaches and players are approaching their struggles in close games with different mindsets.
“We get too uptight in tense situations,” junior catcher Austin Bossart added. “If we just play loose and have fun we’ll do well.”
“We’ve gotta do a better job getting people on base earlier in innings,” Yurkow added. “We haven’t done a great job getting our leadoff guy on base.”
After 11 games at the helm, the Yurkow era has begun with a rocky start record-wise, but the team sees it as a positive rebuilding process.
“I feel good about [the transition]” Yurkow said.
“It’s taking some adjustment, that’s for sure,” Bossart added. “We really appreciate the atmosphere this year.”
The change in coaches has allowed the team to play without the fear of messing up. Both the team and coach are working together to improve, which has helped the squad grow closer.
This relaxed demeanor will be key to snapping its losing streak and getting the team pointed in the right direction.
“Just play to have fun,” Bossart stressed as the key to success this weekend.
The Leopards have had their struggles as well in their most recent losing skid, losing two games by one-run margins . Lafayette, however, has won two games by one and two run margins as opposed to the Quakers who have lost these types of games.
If the Quakers want to get their big hits, they probably won’t have many chances against the Lafayette pitching staff, which has only allowed more than five runs once this season. Despite the challenge, Penn baseball remains optimistic.
“I like our chances,” Yurkow added. “Seems like they’re pitching well so far.”
With four games in two days, the Red and Blue will hope to show that they can be clutch and move the Yurkow era forward on a more positive note.
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