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Penn third baseman Oliver Hahl stole ten bases over the break, while providing solid defense. (Will Burhop/DP File Photo)

The Penn baseball team went to Florida last week in search of some victories and in search of a closer to seal those victories. The Quakers found both. Penn went 6-3 on its annual spring break trip, while senior Nick Barnhorst emerged as a bullpen stopper, earning four saves in four appearances. "He's the guy right now, no question about it," Penn coach Bob Seddon said. "Got to give Bill Wags [Wagner] the credit for that. He's the one who pushed [Barnhorst] because he liked the way he threw in the annex." With his four saves, Barnhorst, who is also a Daily Pennsylvanian sportswriter, has already eclipsed the Quakers' staff total from last year -- three. The senior notched two saves on the opening day of the season, nailing down Penn's 4-2 and 6-4 wins over St. Mary's in a doubleheader. Barnhorst also picked up saves against Eckerd and Fordham. It may seem somewhat out of the blue that Barnhorst has stepped into the closer's role, as he entered the season having appeared in just 11 career games with an ERA of 14.13. "It wasn't completely unexpected, but it was a pleasant surprise," Barnhorst said. "I think that in the past, I definitely didn't have my head screwed on straight -- it was more upside-down-like. I kind of figured some stuff out throwing over the summer, and things are clicking now. My head's pointing a little bit more in the right direction." One thing that may help Barnhorst, or any other pitcher, to keep his head pointed in the right direction is a solid defense. In Florida, the Quakers demonstrated just that. Seddon said that anything less than two errors per game would be admirable, and Penn's defense had just 14 miscues in the nine games. "Any ball hit on the ground is going to be an out," Barnhorst said. "That gives the pitchers a little bit of confidence, starters, middle relievers, anybody. It's nice to know that you're going to get an out if you throw a strike and they hit it somewhere inside the ballpark." The Quakers offense hit most of its own balls inside the ballpark last week, blasting just five homers. Two of those dingers came off the bat of Chris May in a 15-4 rout of Rollins, a nationally-ranked Division II team. "We rarely beat them, and never beat them that bad," May said. "That's a quality team that we beat." May has a .382 batting average with the two homers and 10 RBIs. The hitting star of the trip for the Quakers, though, was sophomore outfielder/pitcher Andrew McCreery, who is hitting .452 with a homer. McCreery was also solid on the mound, picking up a win for the Red and Blue at Eckerd. "McCreery had an outstanding trip," Seddon said. "He had the most hits, with 14. He won more games than anyone else on our staff last year, so he's a main force." As a team, the Quakers are hitting .286, and they believe that the power game will come around with patience. "That'll come," Seddon said. "Gregorio, May, Rolph and McCreery -- these guys can all hit the ball out. Home runs will come, but we don't want them to think about hitting home runs. That will destroy our game." Even without the power game, the Quakers scored plenty of runs in Florida, tallying 58 over the course of the nine games. Penn was held to under three runs just once, dropping a 2-1 decision to Eckerd on the second day of the season. The Red and Blue are scheduled to resume action tomorrow at 3 p.m., hosting UMBC at Murphy Field.

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