After a rocky start to the season, Penn baseball looked to get back on track against an interstate rival.
The Quakers (5-10) turned their losing streak into a winning streak, picking up three of four games against Lafayette (6-10) in this weekend’s home and home series.
Saturday marked the Quakers’ home opener as they played the first doubleheader of the weekend in Meiklejohn Stadium.
“Its been a long time coming,” coach John Yurkow said. “it was nice getting out there for the first time.”
Pitching was key in Penn’s victory in the first two games of the night as juniors Connor Cuff and Ronnie Glenn picked up their first wins of the season. Cuff hurled a complete-game shutout in the first game of the doubleheader with six hits, four strikeouts and zero walks surrendered in the 3-0 win.
Not to be outdone by his teammate, Glenn pitched a quality start, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out seven.
The Quakers also showed their offensive muscle in the opening half of the series. After scoring three runs in the first game, Penn’s bats caught fire in the second game with two home runs from junior Mitch Montaldo and sophomore Gary Tesch en route to an 8-3 drubbing of the Leopards.
“I’m happy we’re starting to get more runs,” Yurkow said. “Some of the guys who had slow starts are starting to pick it up.”
Sunday’s set of games brought mixed results for the Red and Blue. Seven innings weren't enough to settle the score in game one, as the game went to extra innings after a 2-2 deadlock. Penn took a 3-2 lead off junior Matt McKinnon’s RBI single in the top of the eighth. Lafayette responded in the bottom of the eighth with a walk-off single from Campbell Lipe to secure the win.
“We were very sloppy,” Yurkow said. “We could have easily gotten the last one so it was a little disappointing.”
In the second game, the Quakers wasted little time generating offense, plating six runs off six hits in the first inning alone. Penn would follow that up with a run in the fifth off Tesch’s RBI single before adding on another four runs in the last three innings.
Freshman Jack Hartman capped off a great weekend of pitching for the Quakers with seven innings of work. Hartman allowed two runs off six hits and one strikeout. The freshman now has two wins to start off his freshman campaign.
“Jack Hartman is one of those guys where you can’t figure him out,” Yurkow said.
Leading the charge for Penn’s offense was the sophomore duo of Tesch and Mike Villardo who combined for seven RBIs on the weekend. Villardo want 4-for-4 in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader while scoring two runs.
Penn will be facing off against the Leopards once again on Wednesday to kick off the Liberty Bell Classic.
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