Penn baseball overcomes Lafayette in 11th inning
Penn wins two out of three weekend games against the Leopards
March 25, 2012, 11:37 pm · Updated March 27, 2012, 12:34 am·
Andrew Dierkes | DP
It was a war of attrition Saturday afternoon as the Penn and Lafayette baseball squads vied for a go-ahead run in an extra-innings affair.
The ball game was the third of a home-and-home weekend series. Penn won at Lafayette Friday, 2-0. It lost Saturday’s first game, 3-2, but won the rubber match in 11 innings, 9-8.
During Saturday’s second game, both teams scored the majority of their runs in one inning. In the third, the Quakers scored five runs on four hits. In the fifth, the Leopards rallied with two outs to score six runs, tying the game, 8-8. After the fifth, neither team could find an offensive rhythm.
Penn had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth as freshman Joey Greco and junior Greg Zebrack both landed on base. However, Greco was thrown out on a steal and Zebrack was left stranded.
In the ninth, Lafayette, too, came close to scoring. Freshman Sam Horn — a fastball pitcher who faced 13 batters and managed four strikeouts — looked tired.
Lafayette’s Andrew Ruck smashed the ball, but pulled it just wide of the foul pole in right field, missing a homerun by a few feet. He was thrown out later in the at-bat. Next up, left fielder Bobby Fargnoli flied out deep to center field. Lafayette junior Scott Kelleher continued to hit Horn hard and pounded a double.
Coach John Cole called in freshman starting pitcher Connor Cuff to relieve Horn, who gave up just two hits in four innings of effective relief. Lafayette sent pinch-hitter Kevin Casey to the box. Casey sailed the ball above Cuff’s head, but senior second baseman Derek Vigoa leaped up to make the catch for the third out of the inning, saving the Quakers from a likely go-ahead run.
After the game, Cole expressed admiration for Horn, Cuff and fellow freshman Dan Gautieri, who closed out the game.
“I think the freshmen coming out of the bullpen showed a lot today,” Cole said. “When everything was falling apart, they kept us together … I tip my hat to those guys.”
With no outs in the 11th, Penn freshman Austin Bossart stepped up to the plate with sophomore Cody Dillabough on third. Bossart singled to right field. Ruck corraled the ball up and shrugged, apparently believing it would be impossible to throw Dillabough out at home. He then heaved the ball to the catcher just as Dillabough scored to win the game.
“It’s what we needed,” Bossart said. “I got thrown into the situation, and I just looked it in the face and was like, ‘come on. Let’s go.’”
“I would’ve done a cartwheel to win that game … We’ll take it, and we’ll get out of here,” Cole said in regards to the confusion surrounding the final play.
The Quakers next play Villanova in the Liberty Bell Classic Tuesday at home at 3 p.m.