On Wednesday, Penn baseball used some help from a fresh face to embark on what it hopes will be a brand new win streak.
After having their longest winning streak in over 20 years snapped the previous afternoon, the Red and Blue used 14 hits — including four from freshman Tim Graul — to pick up an 8-4 win over Saint Peter's at Meiklejohn Stadium.
“Timmy’s been really working hard lately in BP, and he’s been swinging the bat well,” coach John Yurkow said. “He was a big lift for us today.”
Freshman left-hander Jack Hartman made his fifth start of the season for the Quakers (16-11), ringing up five batters in his three innings of work.
Saint Peter's (7-21) wasted no time getting on the board though, as leadoff batter Jon Kristoffersen hit a home run off of the first pitch of the game, putting the Peacocks ahead 1-0.
“We kinda got punched in the face early on with that first pitch home run,” Yurkow said.
A pair of doubles in the top of the second extended St. Peters’ early lead to two.
The Quakers’ bats didn’t wait long to start chipping away, however.
Red-hot second baseman Michael Vilardo led off the bottom of the second with a double in the gap, and he was driven in two batters later by Ryan Mincher on a sacrifice fly.
The Red and Blue continued to find holes in the Peacocks’ defense the following inning.
Catcher Austin Bossart gave his squad the lead with an RBI double that scored Graul and then reached the plate himself when Jeff McGarry singled through the left side.
Freshman Mitchell Hammonds — who has seen his innings shoot up recently — took over on the mound for the Red and Blue in the top of the fourth.
The righty reliever quickly let two runners on, but he was able to get a double-play ball to keep the 3-2 Penn lead intact.
It wouldn’t be a Penn baseball game without a home run, and sure enough, Graul went deep over the left field fence with two outs in the fourth to extend the Quakers’ lead to 4-2.
After McGarry reached on an error, a hit-and-run single by Matt McKinnon gave the Red and Blue runners on the corners with two outs, but Mincher was unable to further the damage in the fifth.
Hammonds found himself in trouble in the sixth, as a wild pitch let a pair of runners advance to second and third with just one out. The freshman was able get a pop out before Yurkow called sophomore Mitch Holtz to the mound.
Holtz could not get the Quakers out of the inning unscathed, as he let up a game-tying single up the middle before Bossart gunned down a runner at second to end the inning.
Bossart dialed up some deja vu in the bottom of the sixth, roping another RBI double to score Graul before making his own way around the bases on a Rick Brebner single.
In the bottom of the seventh, Graul stayed hot and stroked a two-out double to drive in Gary Tesch and Brandon Engelhardt to double up the Peacocks’ score, 8-4.
Yurkow’s next pitching change brought senior submariner Pat Bet to the mound in the top of the eighth.
Mixing up his arm slots, Bet struck out the side in the eighth with ease and sat down the Peacocks in order in the ninth to secure the win.
“Pat Bet was great again,” Yurkow said. “It’s amazing the turnaround he’s had.
“We came back today, we battled through it and at the end of the day, we got the win and got some momentum going into the weekend.”
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