After a weekend full of rainouts, Ivy season couldn’t have come soon enough for Penn baseball.
The Quakers were originally supposed to play a doubleheader against Yale on Saturday afternoon but the weather washed out both games, leading to a Monday matinee between the Red and Blue and the Elis.
Penn took game one, 6-1, behind a complete game from junior pitcher Dan Gauteiri and claimed game two as well, 11-9, after an offensive outburst in the middle innings.
The Quakers (8-10, 2-0 Ivy) got off to a quick start in the first inning, as Gauteiri got through a perfect inning with two strikeouts. The offense provided him with all the run support he would need in the bottom half of the inning, as junior first baseman Jeff McGarry took Yale’s Chasen Ford deep for a two-run homer.
Gauteiri brought a perfect game into the fourth inning where it was broken up on a single but it would be Penn, not Yale (7-11, 0-2), that broke through in the frame, as senior left fielder Rick Brebner followed an Austin Bossart RBI single with a three-run homer that put Penn up 6-0.
Picking up his first win of the year, Gauteiri finished the seven-inning game with just one run allowed, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out six Bulldogs batters.
“Dan really had good command today,” coach John Yurkow said. “He controlled that game from the first pitch to the last.”
Fellow junior Ronnie Glenn was unable to continue the string of solid pitching in the second contest, getting hit around early by the Elis to the tune of five runs (three earned) in two and two-thirds innings pitched.
With Penn down 5-1, Yurkow turned to freshman Jake Cousins in the bullpen, who put together a string of zeroes to keep the team in the game. Cousins gave up just one unearned run in four and one-third innings pitched, allowing just four baserunners.
“It’s really all you can ask for is just a couple zeroes and he did exactly that,” Yurkow said. “We were able to get a couple and I just had a feeling with the way were swinging the bats over the last two weeks that if we could put some zeroes together, we’d have a good chance of coming back against that team.”
Yurkow was proved right as Penn’s offense exploded to the tune of 11 runs, led by four hits from Brebner — including another homer — and three hits and three RBI from sophomore Mike Vilardo. The Quakers tied the game in the fourth inning before a four-run fifth put the game out of reach.
“It’s good to see [for] Mike Vilardo,” Yurkow said. “He and Rick Brebner have really made a huge contribution over the last four or five games and that’s kind of what we were hoping when the season started.
“It took them a little while to get going but, man, it’s nice when you have upperclassmen taking good swings like that.”
The Red and Blue hope to pick up where they left off in Ivy play when they face Brown in a doubleheader on Tuesday, a set originally scheduled for Sunday. Penn’s starting pitchers will be the Ancient Eight’s leader in earned run average – junior Connor Cuff – alongside freshman Jack Hartman, who is 2-0 on the season.
“If Connor throws like he has all year, we are going to have a chance to win with him on the mound,” Yurkow said. “Hopefully Connor comes out and gets off to a good start and we’ll roll it into game two and we’ll let Jack do his thing.”