For the first time all season, Penn baseball is over .500.
The Quakers kept their unbeaten home record intact with an 11-5 drubbing of the Lafayette in the Liberty Bell Classic quarterfinals. The win extended the Red and Blue’s winning streak to seven and gave them their ninth win in 10 games.
After picking up four crucial Ivy wins over Yale and Brown, Penn (11-10) faced the tough task of playing five games in three days.
“We really needed everyone to contribute this week,” coach John Yurkow said. “We’ve played good team baseball thus far.”
The game did not start off well for the Quakers, who dug themselves into a 1-0 hole early in the first inning after starting pitcher Jeff McGarry walked in a run.
The score would remain that way until the fifth inning as the game quickly turned into a pitcher’s duel.
“I was concerned early on,” coach John Yurkow said. “We didn’t end the game swing the bats well yesterday.”
The pitching duo of David Bednar and Ari Kaufman of Lafayette (7-12) teamed up to hold the Quakers hitless until the bottom of the fifth inning.
That’s when the momentum shifted.
Starting with a three-run homer from sophomore shortstop Ryan Mincher, Penn would go on to plate three more runs in the fifth followed by another five in the sixth inning.
“Mincher changed the game,” Yurkow remarked. “After that homer, the momentum shifted in our favor.”
One of the important pieces of the Red and Blue’s offense came from the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week Rick Brebner, who had two home runs and five runs batted in on the day.
“I’ve been seeing the ball well lately,” Brebner said. “I’ve had to jump on fastballs earlier in the count and not waste pitches.”
The Leopards were able to bring in four more runs in the top of the eighth before the Quakers pitching staff took control back of the game. For the game, Penn only allowed three hits in the first seven innings and eight in total for the matchup, though senior lefty Matt Gotschall was touched up a bit, surrendering four runs on three hits during the Leopards’ mini-rally.
The Red and Blue continue to use their strong pitching and power hitting to get past opponents from game to game.
“We’ve been pitching and playing defense well all season,” Yurkow said.
After a rocky 2-9 start to the season, Penn finds themselves with a winning record for the first time all season.
“I think we’re really coming together as a team,” Brebner said. “We’re trying to continue this momentum through Ivy play.”
“We’re seeing contributions from the entire roster right now,” Yurkow added. “Some things start to work themselves out after a while.”
Penn will look for a similar performance this weekend as it travels to play Harvard and Dartmouth on the road on Friday and Saturday before playing in the Liberty Bell Classic semifinals next week.
Perhaps that winning percentage will creep up even higher.