They say streaks are made to be broken.
And on Tuesday, that’s exactly what happened for Penn baseball. In the semifinals of the Liberty Bell Classic, the Quakers’ 11-game winning streak — as well as their unbeaten mark at home, came to an end at the hands of St. Joseph’s, 4-2.
Penn (15-11) didn’t give up easily though. The Quakers forced the game into extra innings and didn’t fall until the Hawks (16-9) scored two runs in the top of the 13th inning to put the game out of reach.
“I’m not too happy right now,” coach John Yurkow said. “We didn’t do very well with anything.”
The Quakers were able to draw first blood after sophomore shortstop Ryan Mincher’s RBI double brought in Mike Vilardo in the bottom of the second inning. St. Joe’s was able to tie the game at one in the next half inning before Austin Bossart hit a solo home run to make the score 2-1 in the bottom of the 3rd.
After nine innings, the score was knotted at two apiece, sending the game to extras to settle the deadlock. Between the 10th and 12th innings, the two teams managed only one hit, a single courtesy of junior Jeff McGarry in the 11th.
“On the offensive side we couldn’t get anything going,” Yurkow said. “You gotta hit to win at some point, and we couldn’t get that big hit.”
In the top of the 13th, the Hawks were able to take control of the game after a leadoff single. Collin Forgey, the following batter, pounded freshman pitcher Mike Reitcheck for a two-run homer that proved to be the deciding factor in the game.
Despite the fact that the Quakers fell in extras, Yurkow still praised the performance of his pitchers against the Hawks.
“We pitched pretty well today,” he remarked. “But it was the only thing we did well with today.”
After senior Rick Brebner got on base with a two-out double in the final frame, the Red and Blue were unable to drive in the tying runs to hold off defeat.
“We had a few chances to come away with the win,” Yurkow said. “We had chances and couldn’t do anything with it.”
The vaunted Penn offense was held to less than three runs for the first time since its matchup with Richmond on March 16. The Hawks’ pitching staff held the Red and Blue to only six hits on the day.
One of the lone bright spots of the day came from the Red and Blue’s pitching staff. Senior Cody Thomson hurled five innings while allowing only one hit and striking out seven.
Sophomore Brian Schwarzbach also pitched well in three innings of work, surrendering two hits and zero earned runs.
“I think our bullpen depth is getting stronger,” Yurkow said. “It was nice to see Thomson go five innings for us today.”
With just one more matchup before starting their Ivy slate in the Lou Gehrig division, Penn will look to get back to its winning ways sooner rather than later.
“Tomorrow I want to see their focus from the first pitch,” Yurkow added. “We didn’t have that today.”
The Quakers will take on Saint Peter’s this afternoon and will be looking to turn their brief losing streak back into a winning streak.
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