The Penn baseball team may only be entering their second week of Ivy play, but this weekend’s games against Harvard and Dartmouth already have title implications.
After an extremely competitive opening Ivy weekend in which five of eight teams finished 2-2, the Quakers are now tied with Columbia at the top of the Gehrig Division with a 3-1 league record.
But with both teams playing the same slate this weekend, first place is on the line. Penn will play doubleheaders at Harvard on Saturday and Dartmouth on Sunday, while the Lions will open the weekend with the Big Green before heading to Beantown.
Against the Crimson (8-15, 2-2 Ivy), coach John Cole will most likely send sophomores Chris McNulty and Vince Voiro to the hill.
McNulty, who is second on the team with a 3.99 earned run average, will look to return to form after getting roughed up in his last outing. In the first game against Brown, McNulty gave up two runs through four innings but couldn’t escape the fifth, giving up a home run, two walks and a double.
“I’m a little disappointed in myself, with how I closed out the Brown game,” McNulty said. “I’m definitely working toward putting together a more complete performance in my next start.”
A matchup with Harvard may give McNulty that chance to bounce back.
The Crimson have been one of the Ivy League’s least productive teams at the plate. Their .241 team batting average is the lowest in the Ancient Eight, and they plate just over four runs per game. The Quakers (12-10, 3-1), meanwhile, are averaging 7.4.
What the Crimson do well, however, is remain active on the base path. They currently lead the Ivy League in stolen bases with 31 — 10 more than the Quakers.
Nevertheless, the Quakers have also developed quite the running game this year, with six more stolen bases than last season.
“This series could be a little bit about who can get the running game going,” Cole said.
In Hanover, N.H., the Quakers will be up against the defending Ivy League champions. After losing five seniors, the Big Green (9-10, 2-2) may not be as mighty as they were last year, but they have a sturdy pitching staff.
Though Dartmouth’s team ERA ranks fifth in the League, its staff has given up just 27 walks and earned a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.89 this season. The next highest ratio in the league is Columbia’s 2.1.
“We’re going to have to earn our runs,” Cole said.
McNulty, who claimed he was familiar with the Big Green staff, concurred.
“They’ll encourage the opposing team to put the ball in play,” he said. “[But] I think we’ve got the kind of hitters that can succeed.”
One such hitter is outfielder Tom Grandieri. The senior earned Big 5 and Ivy League Player of the Week honors after hitting .476 and pounding three home runs in his last five games.
Meanwhile, junior Dan Williams continues to punish opposing pitchers. In his last two games, he hit 7-for-7 with six runs scored.Comments powered by Disqus
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