NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- A grand slam in the majors is pretty rare. And a bomb with the bases loaded in summer collegiate baseball, well, let's just say you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning.
Consider yourself struck. Last Monday, Newburgh designated hitter Luke Lambo launched a missile over the 383-foot fence in left-center at Latshaw Field with the bases loaded.
The Generals' (19-5) four-run ding-dong in the top of the seventh with one out was not enough, however, to avoid dropping their second game of the day to Delaware Valley (14-15), which won the twinbill by scores of 4-1 and 8-7.
The Gulls -- which feature three Penn baseball players -- moved to within six games of the New Jersey Colts in the Wolff Division of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, while the Generals' lead in the Kaiser Division dropped to 4.5 games over the second-place Long Island Collegians.
Delaware Valley started Penn pitcher/outfielder Andrew McCreery on the mound in the first game. McCreery made his fourth start and his eight overall pitching appearance for the Gulls.
"When you're starting a game, you don't know how long you're going to go so you have to pace yourself, and make good pitches," said McCreery on the difference between being a starter and a middle reliever.
McCreery made those good pitches and had a very strong outing, scattering two hits and a run while striking out five in 6 2/3 innings of work.
"I threw strikes and I threw the best that I have all summer," said McCreery, who was one out short of a complete game. "I finally discovered my changeup again, and I was able to hit my spots all day."
McCreery -- who is also taking summer school classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights -- credited his Monday pitching success with an adjustment he made at the start of the game.
"I was doing this thing called `lift and drift', where I didn't come to a balance point," McCreery said. "I finally fixed that today. It's funny when you get around other pitchers who actually know what they're talking about -- they help you out."
Those other pitchers helped the Penn junior lower his earned run average to a team-best 1.63, which is good enough for eighth in the league.
"In terms of pitching, you find out what you're really made of here," McCreery said, "because you're playing with the All-Stars from every team."
McCreery -- a Wolff Division All-Star team selection himself earlier this summer -- showed what he was made of in last Monday's outing, especially in the first five innings during which he only allowed two runners to reach base, neither of which were able to score.
The Gulls gave McCreery a couple of runs to work with in that span, as a wild pitch scored centerfielder Adam Russ and shortstop Jay West's sacrifice fly scored third baseman Beau Massey in the second and fifth, respectively.
McCreery ran into a little bit of trouble in the sixth. After Generals leftfielder Mischo earned a leadoff walk, Newburgh second baseman Spike Ridgley popped out to West. A sacrifice advanced Mischo to second, and he was driven in by Generals centerfielder Mike Aviles, breaking up the shutout and cutting Delaware Valley's lead to 2-1.
The Gulls would get two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, however, to push the lead to three with the seventh and final inning coming up.
The Gulls got a real scare though, as McCreery walked the bases loaded in the top of the seventh while getting two outs in the process.
Delaware Valley coach Jim Mullen pulled McCreery for Massey, who went to the mound from third as part of a triple switch. Massey struck out Mischo to earn the save and give the Gulls a 4-1 victory.
The Generals showed a little more life in the second game of the doubleheader, putting three runs on the board in the first two innings. But the Gulls' offense was too much in the nightcap, as they scored in every inning but the third.ÿÿÿÿÿ
Part of that offense was Delaware Valley rightfielder Jim Mullen, a Penn senior who coincidentally has the same name as his summer league coach. In addition to having two putouts from right field, the Penn senior went 2-for-3 with two singles, a walk, a run and a run batted in at the plate.
"Today was a fairly average [performance]," Mullen said. "It's been a slow summer because I took the year off, so I've been trying to get my timing back. I'm starting to feel better at the plate and produce a little more."
Mullen, like the rest of the collegians playing summer ball, are just trying to maintain their game for the fall and spring.
"The advantages are playing every day, seeing all the different situations you can be in, and just getting more experience," Mullen said. "I always thought, as far as college goes, you have to play in the summer just to stay in shape and keep your timing."
And getting more experience means being able to handle both the positives and the negatives, as Penn pitcher Paul Grumet learned by the end of the second game.
With the scoreboard showing 8-3 in the top of the seventh, the game looked to be all but over, and Grumet came in to close out the game.
After getting Newburgh shortstop Travis Garcia to pop out to short, Grumet gave up a double down the left field line, a walk and a single up the middle to the next three batters, loading up the bases.
Up came Lambo, who was 2-for-3 with a couple of singles up to that point. Grumet tossed him a meatball over the center of the plate, and Lambo crushed it almost 400 feet, putting the Generals within one.
Grumet was yanked with a disastrous line: three hits, a walk and four earned runs in a third of an inning pitched.
His replacement was Massey, who easily retired the final two batters to pick up his second save of the day.
McCreery also played in the second game for the Gulls, and started in centerfield. He had one putout, and went 1-for-4 with a single.Comments powered by Disqus
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