After winning four of their last five games, the Penn baseball team saw its momentum reversed twice in the same weekend.
The Quakers dropped two games to Dartmouth on Saturday before sweeping Harvard the following day in Boston to earn a split on the weekend.
The two wins over the Crimson (5-22, 2-6 Ivy) have put Penn (14-12, 5-3) back in the right direction, but the pair of losses at Dartmouth (7-13, 3-3) sting a bit, especially given the way they unfolded.
In the first game in Hanover, N.H., Penn ace Vince Voiro — who entered the game with a 1.60 ERA — was tagged for six runs, the last three of which came during a sloppy, and ultimately decisive, sixth inning for the Red and Blue.
The inning started off poorly, as a wild pitch on a third strike allowed Dartmouth’s Joe Turnbull to reach first safely. Then, Penn sophomore third baseman Rick Brebner’s throw to first on the ensuing sacrifice bunt went wide, allowing the Big Green to have men on first and third with nobody out.
After a stretch that included two singles and one more error for Penn, Dartmouth pulled out of a 3-3 tie to head into the seventh with the eventual 6-3 winning margin. The untimely miscues hurt the Quakers, who were second worst in the Ivy League in total errors going into Sunday.
“A few mental mistakes really opened the game [for Dartmouth],” Brebner said. “We feel like we did give that one away.”
The sudden loss may have sapped Penn’s energy for the second half of the doubleheader, as Brebner admitted the team seemed to come out “a little flat.”
Dartmouth cruised to an 11-2 victory — extending it’s nation-leading home winning streak to a remarkable 28 games — thanks to five runs over the course of the fourth and fifth innings that gave the Big Green an imposing 7-0 lead.
Sophomore pitcher Cody Thomson said the Quakers let the game get away from them both offensively and defensively. The Penn pitching staff gave up 11 walks and their hitters swung at too many pitches up in the strike zone.
Thomson helped tidy things up, though, in the first game of the Harvard doubleheader on Sunday. He threw a seven-inning, complete game shutout against the Crimson, allowing just five hits in the 7-0 win.
“The big thing for me … was being able to throw my slider for a strike,” Thomson said. “They were pretty much taking that anytime I threw it first-pitch, so that was huge, to be able to get ahead.”
The offense was clicking in unison with Thomson, as the Red and Blue put up five runs in the fifth inning alone. Penn’s 3-4-5 hitters on the day — Brebner, Ryan Deitrich and Spencer Branigan — played their role, hitting a combined 6-for-11 with six runs batted in.
It was a complete performance that transitioned into the second game, an 8-5 victory for the Quakers. After John Beasley allowed three runs in the first two innings, Matt Gotschall came on in relief and earned the victory, his third on the season. Offensively, Brebner led the team in scoring with three runs, while Branigan and Austin Bossart both tallied two RBIs apiece.