It was a wild weekend for the Quakers.
Penn baseball’s series against Dartmouth had a little bit of everything. The Red and Blue went 1-1-1 versus the Big Green, losing the lone Saturday matchup 5-4, winning Sunday’s first game 8-7, and tying 4-4 in the finale.
This was a special weekend for Penn (6-15-1, 2-3-1 Ivy), as it was the team’s first home series of the season.
“It was great,” coach John Yurkow said. “It’s been a long time coming because of the weather and what’s going on with the field, but it was nice to play at home.”
The Red and Blue sent their ace pitcher Gabe Kleiman to the hill on Saturday. The senior left-hander didn’t get off to a great start, as Dartmouth (5-13-1, 1-1-1) jumped out to a 4-0 lead through four innings. Kleiman settled down from there, though, finishing with six innings of work and four runs allowed. The bullpen, led by Robby Cerulle, John Alan Kendrick, Dylan Mulvihill, and Jacob Sadowitz, gave up a single run in three innings.
It took a while for Penn’s bats to get going, but the offense was finally able to get on the board with a three-run sixth inning, featuring RBI singles from sophomore second baseman Chris Adams, freshman left fielder Eduardo Malinowski, and junior third baseman Matt McGeagh. After each side scored a run in the eighth, the Quakers couldn’t tie the game in the final frame, stranding a runner on third base to end the contest.
In Sunday’s first game, Penn saw itself in a similar situation to the day before, down by one entering the bottom of the ninth. This time, though, the Quakers came through in the clutch. Sophomore outfielder Peter Matt sparked the rally by taking a walk and advancing to second on a balk by Dartmouth pitcher Austen Michel. With two strikes and two outs, Malinowski drove in Matt with a single to right field, tying the game and sending it to extra innings.
After a homerun from Dartmouth’s Kyle Holbrook and Penn’s Daniel Halevy, the Quakers put themselves in a great position to win in the bottom of the 11th. Adams was hit by a pitch and Malinowski singled to move him to third base. Next up, junior first baseman Sean Phelan hit a sacrifice fly ball, securing the Penn walk-off win.
As in Saturday’s contest, the Red and Blue used five pitchers in this one. Sophomore Mitchell Holcomb threw the first five innings, giving up three runs, while Cerulle, Brendan Bean, Grant Guillory, and Sadowitz allowed four runs in relief.
Less than an hour after the end of an intense 11-inning affair, the two squads began the series finale. Penn, at the beginning, had a hard time matching the energy that it brought in Sunday’s first game. With sophomore Christian Scafidi on the hill for the Quakers, Dartmouth jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead through two innings.
The Red and Blue looked to be dead in the water, down 4-1 entering what looked to be the final frame. Penn showed no quit, though. After a Halevy RBI single to put the Quakers within two, McGeagh knotted the game at four with a two-run bomb, sending the contest to extra innings.
“I was looking for a ball up to drive,” McGeagh said. “First two pitches, I got a couple pitches to hit and missed them, and then the third pitch he just hung over the plate, and then I obviously got it.”
Penn was close to a repeat performance in both the 10th and 11th innings, stranding runners on base in each frame. The game was then called a tie after the 11th due to darkness, and even though they didn’t win the weekend series, the Red and Blue couldn’t help but feel good about the way they competed.
“[We] showed some toughness; obviously, you know, you put up three there to tie it in the bottom of the ninth,” Yurkow said. “The whole weekend seemed like it was a lot of back and forth. I thought both teams played hard, and nobody wanted to quit.”
The Quakers will take this momentum into their next test against Villanova in the Liberty Bell Classic, a tune-up game for them ahead of next weekend’s series at Harvard.
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