Lafayette offered a chance for Penn baseball to tune things up a bit before heading into Ivy play next weekend. This weekend, the Red and Blue showed they could adapt.
After falling in the first of two games on Saturday, 3-1, a late rally from the Quakers netted them a 7-5 win to split the day at home. On Sunday, the two squads headed north to the Leopards’ realm, where the Red and Blue dropped game one, 5-4, before routing Lafayette, 12-2.
Both games on Saturday featured similar starts: Penn (7-10) conceded a first-inning run to Lafayette (6-13) and was forced to play from behind. But the Red and Blue responded to two very similar situations very differently.
In game one, the Quakers were unable to muster much of a response. Freshman Matt McGeagh belted his first career home run to tie things up, 1-1, in the third.
“Right off the bat, I knew it was gone,” McGeagh said. “I thought it was going to go foul for a second, so I didn’t want to showboat or anything, but it’s really cool to finally get one and know you’re meant to be here.”
But it was an isolated spark for the Red and Blue, who struck out 11 times in the seven-inning affair. A pair of RBI singles in the fourth and seventh gave the Leopards the 3-1 lead they held at game’s end.
“They’re just being a little bit too passive,” Penn coach John Yurkow said. “We’re guessing a bit with runners in scoring position. But if we can start taking some better at bats with runners in scoring position, I think we’ll be OK.”
Just a short while later, game two started off with yet another 1-0 Lafayette advantage. But after going down 5-1 in the seventh, the Quakers mustered a response. Four doubles helped net Penn six runs as the Leopards burned through three pitchers trying to stop the Red and Blue run.
“I felt like we were dead in the water for a while, we couldn’t generate much offense,” Yurkow said. “But we finally started getting ourselves into some decent counts and guys just kind of relaxed and put some good swings on the balls.”
Lafayette proved incapable of the comeback, finalizing the Saturday split before Sunday’s travel to Easton, Pa.
In both, Yurkow’s squad got on the board in the first. Thanks in part to three hits and a pair of stolen bases from senior Gary Tesch, the Quakers took a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning of the opening contest. That score would not hold, however, as the Leopards’ Drew Aherne tied the contest with a two-our homer.
An RBI single from junior catcher Tim Graul gave Penn a 4-3 lead in the ninth, but it fell apart as Nelson surrendered a two-run double with Penn up, 4-3.
Following the walk-off, the Red and Blue responded with intensity. After plating a run in the first, four hits and a pair of errors allowed the Quakers to score four more in the second. The lead only got larger from there, paced by Graul, who logged three RBI on a double and home run.
Four more runs in the sixth made it 12-1, and while the Leopards got a run back that inning, they couldn’t net anything else, finalizing the weekend split.
For Penn, Lafayette offered one of the final pre-Ivy tune-ups. Although Villanova awaits in the Liberty Bell Classic on Tuesday, Ancient Eight play is hot on its heels, beginning with a doubleheader at home against Brown on Saturday.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.