Penn baseball put on quite a power display this weekend.
Facing two Ivy League rivals on the road, the Quakers (12-9, 7-1 Ivy) easily dispatched Yale on Saturday and Brown on Sunday. Penn dominated the Bulldogs, defeating them handily, 8-1, in the first game before adding insult to injury with a 17-5 win on the back of four second-game home runs.
The hour and a half bus ride to Providence from New Haven for the following day’s doubleheaders didn’t faze the Quakers, as they continued to tear the cover off the ball by defeating the Bears, 13-2 and 14-2, on Sunday.
Perhaps coach John Yurkow summarized the weekend best.
“We got all four wins, and we did it in style,” he said.
The offensive outburst was a welcome change for a Penn team that narrowly escaped last weekend’s games with three walk-off wins. There would be no suspense in these games, as the Quakers smashed 13 home runs en route to scoring 52 runs in four contests.
“About five years ago, [in 2010], we set almost every offensive record for this program,” Yurkow said. “But I don’t know if I ever remember a four-game stand quite like this one even then.”
Through two innings, game one looked like it would be a pitchers’ duel between senior pitcher Connor Cuff and junior pitcher Chris Lanham. However, junior outfielder Matt Greskoff cracked the game open in the top of the third inning with a grand slam. The Quakers never looked back, scoring four more runs throughout the game as Cuff and two relievers held the Bulldogs to one run for the victory.
In game two, sophomore pitcher Mike Reitcheck battled through five and two-thirds innings, scattering eight hits while giving up five runs, although only two were earned. Yale (8-13, 2-6) got within 6-5 as late as the bottom of the sixth before Penn’s bats awoke.
Greskoff and senior shortstop Mitch Montaldo hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the seventh, extending the lead to 8-5, before erupting for seven more in the top of the eighth on the back of a bases-clearing three-run double by senior first baseman Matt McKinnon.
“Up and down the lineup, we’re confident right now that everyone who comes to the plate is either going to get a hit or come through for us,” Montaldo said. “That’s what led to our success this weekend.”
The Quakers kept the party going against Brown (6-16, 2-4) the next day, opening the first game with a four-run first inning powered by a Greskoff two-run double and a two-run home run by senior third baseman Jeff McGarry.
“He’s starting to get it going good,” Yurkow said of McGarry, who added another home run in game two. Despite a slow start to the year, the third baseman, who was named second team All-Ivy last season, had six hits and six RBI on the weekend.
Senior outfielder Connor Betbeze, senior catcher Austin Bossart and junior second baseman Ryan Mincher also hit home runs in the Quakers’ 13-2 thrashing of the Bears. Mincher hit two homers and drove in four runs in the game.
“Everybody just had a good mindset at the plate and we had a good thing going throughout the lineup,” Mincher said. “It’s not just the top 3 guys — it’s all the way one through nine. Everybody’s hitting the ball well.”
Senior pitcher Ronnie Glenn, coming off of a nine-inning complete game victory against Harvard last Monday, delivered another gem as he pitched seven innings, struck out eight and only walked one en route to another complete game win. After the long outing last Monday, Yurkow had no reservations about giving Glenn a long leash for this week’s start.
“Especially for a guy like Ronnie, who’s a big strong kid, when you’re pitching guys once a week and they get five or six days' rest, it’s not really a problem,” Yurkow said of the 6-foot-2, 230-pound right hander.
The Quakers took the field at Murray Stadium for one final walloping of Brown. Betbeze and McGarry added home runs and Montaldo hit two to give himself three home runs and seven RBI in four games.
This is not the first time that Montaldo has experienced a power surge in his baseball career.
“In the past, I have had little streaks where I’ve found some power," Montaldo said. "But hopefully I just keep it going.
“Everyone’s thinking the same thing at the plate right now, just trying to stay short and not be too aggressive and over swing,” Montaldo added.
The eruption was truly a team effort. Eight different members of Penn’s lineup hit at least one home run and five of them had at least two home runs.
According to Yurkow, Penn won’t look to change its strategy after a winning weekend.
“We’re just going to continue to do what we’ve done in practice.”
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