Penn baseball began its season with three games at Dallas Baptist last weekend, losing two close games with a blowout defeat sandwiched in between. Despite the losses, the Quakers saw some strong individual performances, particularly from their talented junior class. Here are some of the top performances from this class , which included all three of the weekend’s starting pitchers.
Starting pitcher Connor Cuff : While Penn lost its first game of the season in the ninth inning, the squad was put in a solid position to win by Cuff, one of the team’s returning starters from last season. Cuff pitched six strong innings for the Red and Blue, giving up one unearned run while racking up seven strikeouts. In his final inning, the junior worked his way out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam to keep Penn in the lead.
“I really like our one, two and three, juniors Connor Cuff, Dan Gautieri and Ronnie Glenn,” coach John Yurkow said. “Those three guys are going to give us a good chance to win every time they go out on the mound.”
First baseman/relief pitcher Jeff McGarry: McGarry displayed his versatility this weekend, batting cleanup in all three games while coming in as a relief pitcher in the third game. While McGarry picked up the loss in the final contest, he was a major part of last year’s rotation, starting nine games while finishing with a 4-4 record.
“He is probably the best all-around athlete on the team,” Yurkow said. “He did a great job in the fall and his arm is 100 percent healthy.”
But this weekend also contained his first career at-bats. In his second trip to the plate on Friday, he drove home Penn’s second run of the evening with an RBI double.
Starting pitcher Ronnie Glenn : After pitching exclusively out of the bullpen last season, Glenn has moved into the starting rotation for the Red and Blue, taking the hill for Penn’s final game of the weekend. The junior was one of Penn’s oft-used relievers last season, making 15 appearances. He also had the highest strikeout rate on last year’s squad, striking out 11.7 batters per nine innings.
On Saturday, Glenn threw five innings, k-ing five batters while giving up five runs.
“I thought Ronnie threw well,” Yurkow said. “The first four innings, they didn’t touch him. He had really good command of his off-speed pitches and mixed in a pretty good changeup.
“[Starting him] is something we knew we were going to do all the way back in fall ball. He is a big strong kid and I think it is a good role for him.”
Third baseman Mitch Montaldo : Montaldo started 41 games last season on the infield, but didn’t hit a single home run. What does he do in his first at-bat of the 2014 season? Go yard of course, accounting for Penn’s first hit, run and RBI of the year. Montaldo finished with two hits for the weekend, both of them coming in Friday’s season opener.
“Coming back as a junior, he’s gotten stronger,” Yurkow said. “He had some good at-bats.”