On Wednesday afternoon at Meiklejohn Stadium, no gems were tossed, no pitchers’ duel was witnessed and nearly no words were left for coach John Cole after the game.
“We won,” he said.
Cole’s frustration was understandable, given that his pitching staff issued an almost unheard-of 13 walks to La Salle.
However, the performance on the hill wasn’t much better for the Explorers, and it was Cole’s offense that was able to capitalize and give the Quakers an 11-7 victory.
The pitching troubles began from the get-go when La Salle freshman Shane Petrellis took the mound against Penn (14-14, 4-4 Ivy) in the bottom of the first.
Jeremy Maas, Dan Williams and Tom Grandieri strung together three straight hits to lead off the inning. Petrellis retired the next three batters to get out of the jam, but the Explorers (11-19) found themselves in an early 2-0 hole.
La Salle answered right back, though, after Cole brought in junior Paul Cusick to relieve freshman John Beasley. Cusick allowed two hits and a walk to load the bases with nobody out. After the right-hander earned a much-needed strikeout, speedy sophomore Tony Negrin stepped up to the plate for La Salle.
On a 3-0 count, Negrin hit a dribbler past the pitcher and beat out a single, driving in a run and keeping ducks on the pond.
“My first at-bat, I just wanted to put something on the ground,” Negrin said. “The infield was kind of playing back.”
Cusick gave up another run on a sacrifice fly but was able to escape the early trouble with another strikeout.
With the game knotted at two, Petrellis didn’t fare much better in the second. He retired two of the first three batters, but unraveled quickly after Maas crushed a two-run shot to left.
Petrellis walked Dan Williams on four straight pitches before giving up another deep fly, this time to senior Tom Grandieri.The Quakers would go on to score another two runs in the third, taking a 6-2 advantage. But erratic pitching on the mound for both teams highlighted the remaining six innings.
Cole nearly exhausted his options out of the bullpen, sending eight pitchers to the hill in total. And aside from two innings of no-hit ball from sophomore Chris McNulty, each hurler that Cole sent out had trouble with his command.
“You just gotta pitch better mid-week,” Cole said. “If we don’t walk anybody, they don’t score today.”
The stats nearly back up Cole’s point. Of the Explorers’ seven runs, four were scored by runners who reached base on a walk.
The 13 walks and two hit batters that the Penn staff allowed were certainly disappointing — for comparison, Dartmouth, which has the same Ivy record as Penn, has given up just 39 walks this whole season. However the Explorers pitchers may have performed worse.
Despite giving up just four earned runs after Petrellis was pulled, La Salle’s bullpen could not get in-sync with the catcher, tossing three wild pitches, three passed balls, and a number of pitches in the dirt.
“We had our bench catcher in,” Negrin explained. “There was a lot of miscommunication from our relief pitchers.”
The Quakers took full advantage, stealing nine bases — the most ever amassed during Cole’s reign. With that single-game output, Penn came just six swiped bags short of its total from all of last season.Comments powered by Disqus
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