When it rains, it pours.
In a game that featured a rare lightning delay, Penn baseball fell short on the road to Villanova, 6-1.
Many of the same issues that have been plaguing the Quakers (2-7) so far in the young season were prevalent once again in the team’s fifth consecutive loss.
Conceding runs early in games has been one of the problems for the Red and Blue, and the early inning woes continued today.
After allowing 10 runs in the first innings in just eight games so far this season, the Quakers found themselves down 1-0 in the first frame once again when Villanova senior Adam Gross doubled to left-center field and later scored on a Todd Czinege single.
Coach John Yurkow believes that the early deficits have been a result of several factors.
“When you look at our starting pitching, the talent is out there on the mound. I think when we go down early, it’s difficult mentally because of some of the struggles at the plate,” Yurkow said. “I think going forward we need to go back to the basics and implement some of the small ball tactics, although that is not usually our style, to give some support to our starting pitching.
“Also, I think some of the blame goes to the fact that we have such a young team. With all the inexperience, it takes some adjusting.”
Penn escaped the rest of the inning without further damage, but in the second frame the Wildcats (6-2) blew the game wide open.
Villanova tacked on four runs in the second, which included a two-run blast over the right field by Gross. The home run marked the end of a disappointing day on the mound for junior starting pitcher Andrew Burnick.
Penn looked to have some life in the fourth inning when junior catcher Tim Graul got hit by a pitch, advanced to third on a single, and later scored on a wild pitch.
However, in the bottom of the inning, Villanova regained its five run lead on another Todd Czinege RBI single.
That would be all the scoring for the day, as the next five innings went quietly, especially for the Quakers, who managed only four hits on the day.
The Red and Blue hope that their hitting will wake up during its home opener this weekend against Binghamton in a four-game series.
“We know what we need to do as a team. We are going to have a good practice tomorrow to get ready for Binghamton,” Yurkow said. “I think a few of our guys are going to work on making some physical adjustments at the plate and hopefully that will help get our hitting going.”
With all of the youth on this year’s Penn squad, it’s not a tremendous shock that the team is off to a less than stellar start to the year. However, it appears that the team’s flaws to this point are certainly reversible, and this weekend will be a great opportunity for the Quakers to begin playing at the level that got them only a game away from the Ivy League title each of the last two seasons.
The skies should be clearing up for the Red and Blue as the season progresses. And the next chance to get better isn’t too far off, as the Quakers host Bighamton for a pair of doubleheaders this weekend.
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