It’s still anyone’s game.
The Penn baseball team finished its cross-divisional play this weekend, splitting a pair of doubleheaders against Yale and Brown with the Lou Gehrig Division race still wide open.
Columbia leads with a 6-2 record, while Penn, Princeton and defending champion Cornell are all tied for second at 5-3 in the division standings.
The weekend started rough for Penn (18-11, 5-3 Ivy), as the offense stalled and the Quakers were shut out at Brown (3-19, 1-7), 9-0, snapping sophomore pitcher Connor Cuff’s four-game winning streak.
“The first game was a lot closer than the score,” coach John Cole said. “Obviously if you don’t score you’re not going to win. We had two opportunities we lined out and then the game got away from us. We just didn’t have any offensive pressure on most of the game.”
In the bottom of the third, the Bears took an early 2-0 lead and never relinquished it. Down 3-0 in the sixth, the Quakers had a chance with two men on and one out, but no one crossed the plate. Penn left seven men on base throughout the game. And in the bottom of the sixth, the Bears sealed the deal, piling on six runs.
But the Quakers woke up in their nightcap 9-5 win over the Bears.
Bears senior pitcher Heath Mayo struggled in the first inning, walking three batters, hitting another and giving up a single. The Bears came back within one in the bottom of the first, but Penn’s offense finally woke up in the second and third innings, extending the Quakers’ lead, 6-1.
Sophomore Jeff McGarry ran into some trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving up three runs until senior John Beasley came in to finish the last 3.2 innings of the game, preserving McGarry’s third win of the season.
Against Yale (6-18, 3-5), sophomore pitcher Dan Gautieri notched his fifth consecutive win of the season, as the offense picked up its pace from the previous day’s game. Gautieri pitched a complete game, surrendering only four hits in the 5-1 win.
But the offense was again silenced in the Quakers’ 1-0 nightcap loss, as a pitcher’s duel ensued between junior Pat Bet and the Bulldogs’ David Hickey.
“The last couple outings I’ve been all over the place,” Bet said.
“But today I just came out and really focused on throwing strikes and I was able to do so.”
After throwing a shutout against Duke over spring break, Bet lost his next two games.
“Over the past week I went back and tried to reevaluate what I’ve been doing differently from the beginning of the season,” he said.
“I just worked on changing a couple of minor things and that really helped me be able to get more in control of my pitches and just trying to get back to where I was at the beginning of the season.”
The Quakers recorded only four hits in nine innings.
“[Hickey] stymied our bats,” Cole said. “We just couldn’t create anything. When you give up two runs in one day you should win both games and we didn’t, so that was disappointing.”
Penn enters division play next weekend with a four-game series against Princeton.
“We’ve got to find a way to score,” Cole said. “We’re going to see really good arms the next two weekends and we have got to do a better job at putting pressure on teams. It’s going to be a lot of tight games in the next two weeks.”
The Quakers will face La Salle on the road Wednesday at 3 p.m., their last chance to bolster their bats before their tilt with the Tigers.
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