Penn split four games with Columbia in a home-and-home series to avoid the basement in the Lou Gehrig Division. The Penn baseball team celebrated May Day one day early this year. Junior right fielder Chris May's seven runs batted in propelled the Quakers (20-21, 9-11 Ivy League) to a doubleheader sweep of Columbia (10-34, 6-14) on Sunday. Sunday's wins avenged two losses at Columbia the day before and stopped a late season tailspin that saw the Quakers drop seven games in a row. "There was a pride factor [in Sunday's doubleheader]," senior captain Kevin McCabe said. "In my mind, we were a lot better team than Columbia. We wanted to prove to ourselves and everyone else that we were a better team than that." In Sunday's first game, freshman Andrew McCreery pitched a complete game, holding the Lions bats at bay. McCreery scattered six hits over seven innings, allowing just three runs in a 13-3 Penn rout. Penn's hitters, held in check the weekend before by Princeton's staff, erupted early, affording McCreery the luxury of pitching with a huge lead, unlike the tight game that he pitched last Monday at Old Nassau. May -- batting in the cleanup spot --Etouched Columbia starter Ryan Kiernan in the bottom of the first for a two-run homer, his first of two dingers on the day. In the bottom half of the second, Penn rallied for five more runs, all with two outs. After Kiernan gave up singles to McCabe and Jim Mullen and hit May with a pitch to load the bases, the junior pitcher walked Glen Ambrosius to bring in a run. Designated hitter Jeff Gregorio then singled in two more runs. A single by Ron Rolph brought in Ambrosius, and Gregorio came around to score from first on an error. It appeared as if Columbia would strike back in the top of the third inning. After a William Hess triple brought in two runs to make the score 7-3, McCreery walked the bases loaded. But the freshman -- who finished the year leading Penn's regular starters with a 4.99 earned run average -- buckled down and struck out Keith Palmieri to end the inning. McCreery shut the Lions down after the third, throwing shutout ball the rest of the game to pick up his team-leading fifth win of the year. In the nightcap, junior Brian Burket picked up a win in relief of freshman Ben Otero. Burket pitched the last 4 1/3 innings of the game and held off a late Columbia rally in Penn's 13-9 triumph. The win brought Penn to the 20-win plateau for the first time since 1996, when the Quakers tied for the Gehrig Division title. The win also marks the 12th time in his 30-year career that Penn coach Bob Seddon guided his team to 20 or more victories in a season. "One of my personal goals was to get at least 20 wins," McCabe said. "It's certainly something to build on -- we made an 11-game turnaround." Last year's squad finished 9-28. Penn jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the third inning. The six-run rally was highlighted by May's bases-loaded double, which scored two. Burket relieved Otero in the top of the fifth inning with the bases loaded and one run in. But Burket got Andrew Pisano to fly to right field, ending the inning. Burket's win came a day after the junior hurler picked up a loss in Saturday's first game in New York. After starter Mike Mattern was lifted in favor of Burket in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Lions pounced to erase a 9-5 lead. Columbia scored five runs in their last at-bat to steal the game 10-9. In the second game, freshman Ben Krantz was tagged for seven runs in three innings and gave up eight walks. The freshman's record dropped to 2-2 for the year as Penn's ninth inning rally fell short. Despite 16 hits, the Quakers stranded nine runners in the 9-7 loss.Comments powered by Disqus
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