The Penn baseball team is hitting the road again, albeit for a much shorter trip this time around.
Today, the Quakers (4-5) travel to Maryland to take on Towson (8-6) as they go for their fourth win in their last six games.
The Red and Blue kicked off their season over spring break with a nine-game tour of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
After dropping three of four games to William and Mary, Penn picked up three wins in its last five contests, including a series victory against Winthrop.
“Winning a series on the road down in South Carolina gave us a lot of confidence,” coach John Cole said. “But we’re going to play a very talented team tomorrow, and we have to come out and be ready to play.”
While the Quakers are back on the road on short rest, they are hoping to fine-tune several aspects of their game.
“We’ve got to try and decrease the ‘freebies,’” Cole said. “Between walks, hits by pitches and errors, we’ve got to eliminate the easy ways for the other guys to get on base.
“If we can decrease those, its going to increase our chances of winning, and it’ll eliminate a lot of opportunities for the other team.”
Limiting costly mistakes and opportunities will be key if Penn wants to steal a win against Towson.
Even though the Tigers started off their season strong, they have dropped four of their last six games.
“Towson is a very physical team,” Cole said. “That team can hit well, and we are really going to need to keep the ball down if we want to have a chance to win the game.”
A pair of shutouts — one each against Duke and Winthrop — demonstrated the raw potential of Penn’s young pitching staff.
“Our rotation is developing and it’s young, but there is a lot of talent there,” Cole said. “The question is who is going to be consistent in that rotation, and this week coming up is going to be in answering that question.”
“I really like the back end of our bullpen right now, and I think it’s the strong suit of our team.”
And it appears that Cole isn’t the only one taking notice of his team’s strong arms.
Two members of Penn’s pitching staff, junior Pat Bet and sophomore Dan Gautieri, were both honored for their performances on the team’s road trip.
Bet was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week after pitching six innings of scoreless ball in his first career outing against Duke.
Likewise, Gautieri was named co-Ivy League Pitcher of the Week after tossing a complete-game shutout against Winthrop on Saturday.
Perhaps most impressive, however, are the early-season recognitions for sophomore catcher Austin Bossart.
Heading into the matchup with Towson, Bossart is one of 48 candidates on the Johnny Bench Award Watch List, an honor that goes to the nation’s top collegiate catcher. Bossart also was named Ivy League Player of the Week after posting a .350 average in five games last week.
“Bosser is one of the best catchers that I have ever had in 27 years of coaching,” Cole said. “He’s a tremendous leader and a tremendous player.
“As a team, we have a lot of work left to do, but there are some pieces here, and hopefully we can keep developing against Towson.”
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