Penn baseball faced several obstacles going into its weekend series against George Washington.
A quick schedule change due to inclement weather pushed the Quakers’ home opener back a day, moving the start of the series against the Colonials on Saturday to Virginia instead of at Meiklejohn Stadium.
In Penn’s first back-to-back doubleheader of the season, the Quakers took three of four games over the weekend to improve their record to 8-6.
Despite some obstacles, which included a close to team-wide illness, Saturday’s doubleheader started strong, with the Quakers earning a sweep.
In the first game, sophomore pitcher Connor Cuff had the edge, holding the Colonials to one run and three hits over six innings to win, 2-1.
Sophomore Jeff McGarry pitched the nightcap and earned his first collegiate win behind a decisive performance from the Quakers’ offense in the 9-2 win.
However, despite the fast start to the weekend, Sunday’s first game proved to be disappointing.
Penn gave up six runs in the first three innings after recording three errors. Though the Quakers picked up some steam in the third and fourth innings, their offense fizzled as they fell, 6-4.
“I think we’re all a little disappointed,” junior Brandon Engelhardt said. “The first game we kind of came out like driftwood. The game of baseball’s gotta be played with energy and we really just had no conductors, nothing going for us and we just kind of got blown away by their waves of attack.”
Though junior Pat Bet took the loss, only one of the six runs he gave up in four innings was earned.
“That was the worst three innings we’ve played all year,” Cole said. “I warned them this would be a different day. They’d be hungry after we kind of slapped them around on Saturday and they pressured us. We didn’t handle it … We got three out of four but I’m not satisfied, I don’t think the kids are either.”
Despite the tough start, Penn sealed the series in the nightcap as it beat the Colonials, 6-4. Key to the victory was the performance of sophomore righty Dan Gautieri, who pitched five innings, giving up only one run and improving his record to 3-0 on the season.
This weekend highlighted the talent of Penn’s rotation. Only one pitcher who took the mound gave up more than one earned run.
“For the three years I’ve been here I think it’s the most confident we’ve been one through four with our starting rotation,” Engelhardt said. “I know personally with anyone on the mound we have a chance to win.”
And as the Ivy season approaches, the No. 1 starter spot is still up for grabs, between Cuff and Gautieri.
“[Cuff and Gautieri] are really going at each other which is nice to compete,” Cole said. “So one or the other right now and I hope we have two number ones.”
And luckily, Penn still has time to figure it out before conference play begins.
The Quakers will face Big 5 foe Villanova on Wednesday at Meiklejohn Stadium at 3 p.m.
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