The Quakers' slumbering bats awoke with thunder as the Penn baseball team snapped its five-game losing streak by crushing Cornell in a pair of doubleheaders this past weekend. Mike Shannon solidified his claim as the Ivy League's best all-around player with a monster weekend in all facets of the game. Shannon bludgeoned the Big Red pitching staff, going 11 for 15 with two doubles and a home run on the weekend. "They wanted no part of him," Penn coach Bob Seddon said. "In every game, Shannon was the guy who jump-started us on offense." The junior righthander also came within six outs of bringing the weekend of Red and Blue fireworks to a stunning climax when he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of yesterday's nightcap. After a leadoff single and a three-run pinch homer spoiled the festivities, Shannon cruised to a 12-4 victory. The Quakers won yesterday's first game, 7-3, behind staff ace Ed Haughey. Saturday Penn rallied for five late runs to capture the opener, 6-1, and then buried Cornell by a 9-2 count in the second game. The Quakers have won seven of the last eight meetings between the two teams. "We just blew Cornell away," said Seddon, who watched his team vault into first place in the Gehrig Division. "It takes three things to be successful and this weekend we got them all -- we played good defense, got great pitching, and we hit the ball pretty well. Shannon was unbelievable." As late as Saturday morning, Shannon was doubtful. A sprained wrist he suffered sliding into second base against Lehigh threatened to keep him out of the lineup altogether. But Penn got some help from Mother Nature when a Friday downpour pushed the schedule back a day, and gave Shannon and the Quakers' rotation an extra day of rest. "We didn't say anything publicly, but we weren't sure whether Mike would be able to play at all," Seddon said. "Yesterday, we didn't know until game time if he would pitch. That extra day made a big difference." After suffering through a two-week drought at the plate, the Quakers (15-15, 8-4 Ivy League) exploded for 52 hits, and outscored the Big Red (9-14, 5-7) by a 34-10 margin. And after exhibiting some atrocious glovework the past couple weeks, Penn rediscovered its leather, committing only four errors against Cornell. Seddon attributed the improvement in part to moving Derek Nemeth to the hot corner. "We were defensively a lot better," Seddon said. "Derek fielded every chance he had over at third and did a great job for us all weekend." But as usual it was the rotation that was instrumental in carrying the Quakers through the weekend. The Penn pitchers combined to throw four complete games in a weekend for the first time since 1990. Senior righthander Dan Galles outdueled Big Red ace Tim Ryan with what Seddon called "his normal gutsy performance" in the critical Saturday opener. Galles (3-3) scattered five hits and allowed only an unearned run through seven innings. Ryan was nearly as good, holding the Quakers to a lone run before Penn blew the game open with a run in the sixth and four more in the seventh, highlighted by Tim Henwood's two-run single. "Winning that first game set the tone for the weekend," Seddon said. "When we pulled out that first game, it seemed to deflate Cornell. They definitely didn't have a lot of spunk when they got behind. We got ahead of them early, and didn't give them a chance to get in the game." The Quakers applied the strategy to perfection in the second game Saturday, as they pounded out seven runs in the first two innings. Henwood went a perfect 3 for 3 while Shannon collected four hits. Senior righthander Lance Berger (2-2) surrendered two runs on six hits while waltzing through a demoralized Big Red lineup. Haughey (6-1), the Ivy League leader in victories, collected yet another in unspectacular but effective fashion in the first game yesterday. Catcher Rick Burt and Shannon each went 2 for 3, and Shannon set the tone for the day with a towering home run in the first inning. The Big Red, for their part, had enough of Shannon for one weekend and proceeded to bean him three times after the dinger. It would make little difference. Shortstop Mark DeRosa hammered out four hits and drove in four runs in the second game, while Shannon still managed to go 3 for 3 in between beanings and pitching hitless innings. "I had no idea," Shannon (2-1) said of his brush with the no-no. "No one came up and said anything to me to jinx me. The same thing happened against Cornell last year. I had a no-hitter going into the sixth." The Quakers, meanwhile, have thrust themselves back into the thick of the Ancient Eight race, and caught a glimpse of what they are capable of doing every weekend. "They've been sporadic for much of the season," Seddon said. "But when they put it all together, they can be awesome."Comments powered by Disqus
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