After a 4-0 start to the Ivy League season, Penn baseball will try to keep its momentum while going on its first Ivy road trips of the season.
The cold and windy weather of the Northeast could play a factor in the weekend’s matchups as the Red and Blue take on Harvard and Dartmouth in doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.
“Playing up in the cold, you can’t drive the ball like you want to,” coach John Yurkow said. “We’re gonna have to play some small ball this weekend.”
The conditions could set up another chance for the Quakers (11-10, 4-0 Ivy) to show their superiority on the pitcher’s mound.
Penn bested Dartmouth (4-13, 1-3) last year with two one-run victories at Meiklejohn Stadium , while splitting the series with the Crimson (5-1 4, 1-1).
“It’s gonna be a little tougher,” Yurkow said. “When you go on the road, it’s a little more difficult to keep the momentum.”
First on the docket will be Harvard, which has struggled thus far this season on both ends of the ball. The Crimson pitching staff has combined to sport a 5.00 earned run average in conference play while their bats have only managed a .248 batting average on the season with just one home run.
The Red and Blue’s offense, which has already hit 23 home runs this season, may be stifled by the weather, but its hot bats should be able to keep the winning streak intact. An important component of its recent success comes from senior outfielder Rick Brebner . Brebner leads the Ivy League with 18 runs scored and ranks second with a .605 slugging percentage.
“I’ve just been seeing the ball well lately,” Brebner said. “When you get a good pitch, you gotta jump on it.”
The reigning Ivy League Player of the Week played a crucial role in taking the Quakers to a 4-0 Ivy start and even hit two homers while racking up five RBI during the win against Lafayette on Wednesday.
Dartmouth comes into the matchup sporting a couple of very impressive wins over Florida International and Kansas, two teams ranked in the top 30 when they met the Big Green. Dartmouth’s tough nonconference slate has given the squad experience going up against some of the nation’s top teams on its quest to defend their Red Rolfe division crown.
However, the pitching staff for the Big Green has struggled, earning a 6.30 ERA thus far this season. If Dartmouth wants to prevent Penn from sweeping the Rolfe Division, the Big Green will have to improve their pitching and give up fewer hits — so far, they’ve surrendered 184, the second-worst mark in the Ancient Eight.
“It’s gonna be bad conditions up there,” Brebner said. “We gotta play smart baseball if we wanna come out of there with a win.”
With a shot to sweep the Red Rolfe Division for the first time in over 10 years, the Quakers will look to bring a little bit of their Meiklejohn magic with them to the Northeast.