2013 was a slog at times for Penn baseball, which endured a season-ending seven-game losing streak that culminated in coach John Cole’s dismissal. But there were plenty of happy moments for the Quakers, who finished above .500 at 22-21. Here are the top five.
1. Favorites? Not for long
The Quakers knew that they were in for a challenge against division favorite Dartmouth as they opened up Ivy play on March 30. They were not intimidated.
Strong starts by pitchers Connor Cuff and Jeff McGarry were enough to stake the Red and Blue to a pair of 3-2 wins in their doubleheader. Though Penn wasn’t able to complete a weekend sweep, splitting the following day’s doubleheader with Harvard, the impact of the weekend was clear.
“It’s hard to be happy when you lose the last one [against Harvard],” Cole said after the weekend. “But looking big picture, beating Dartmouth twice is a good job for us.”
2. Two-for-one special
Then-sophomore designated hitter Joey Greco’s swing came together at the perfect time when the Red and Blue took on Villanova on March 20. Greco hit two home runs while knocking in six runs as the Quakers rolled over the Wildcats, 12-5.
Greco’s sixth-inning grand slam proved to be the difference in eliminating a 5-4 Villanova edge and giving Penn its fifth win in six games.
“Whenever we play Villanova, we love to beat them because it’s a hometown rival,” Greco said after the game. “You’ve got to just love to pound up on Villanova.”
3. Four out of five isn’t bad
In a scheduling quirk, Penn and Lafayette played each other five times in five days, trading home doubleheaders and squaring off at Meiklejohn Stadium in the Liberty Bell Classic quarterfinals.
The Red and Blue easily handled the Leopards in Easton, Pa., and very nearly pulled off a five game sweep, but a 10th inning bases-loaded walk and wild pitch helped Lafayette to an 8-6 victory in the second game of the Penn-hosted doubleheader.
4. Brebner fever
Penn was in the midst of an ugly 3-10 finish to the season when it traveled to play Lehigh on April 17, but then-junior first baseman Rick Brebner was able to stop the bleeding, if only for a little bit.
Brebner cracked two home runs and knocked in five runs to lift the Quakers to a dominant 13-2 victory over the Mountain Hawks.
“I think overall I was just seeing the ball pretty well today. I was trying to sit back, let the ball come to me instead of being too anxious up there,” he said after the game. “[I was] just looking for fastballs, balls I could drive, and fortunately I got some and jumped on them.”
5. Conquered Colonials
Taking on George Washington in a four game series back on March 16-17, the Quakers didn’t waste time before asserting their dominance over their Atlantic 10 foe.
The Red and Blue piled on 21 runs in two days, taking three out of four games from the Colonials.