The temperature isn’t the only thing that’s heating up in Philadelphia this week.
The Quakers put the Explorers away, 5-3, on a sweltering afternoon, notching 10 hits including two home runs.
After a weekend of frustrated bats against Yale and Brown, the Penn baseball team (19-11) finally showed some spark halfway through Wednesday’s game at La Salle (12-18).
Only three runners were left on base the whole game for Penn’s offense, but the Quakers really started to heat up after the fifth inning — and not a moment too soon.
This midweek matchup marked the last game before Penn faces its division rivals in a pennant race that shows no clear frontrunner.
The Quakers struggled against La Salle early, only recording two hits until the sixth inning.
“We started off the same way,” coach John Cole said. “We could not hit. We struggled for five innings … Baseball you go into funks, until you have somebody show you the way.”
Enter senior outfielder Ryan Deitrich.
After sophomore Mitch Montaldo walked and freshman Gary Tesch put up a sacrifice bunt to move Montaldo to second, Deitrich homered to left field, putting the Quakers up by one, his fourth home run of the season.
“Once Ryan homered, we kind of relaxed, made better swings and did some things on the bases,” Cole said. “That kind of opened us up a little bit, which was good to see.”
Six different players recorded at least one hit for the Quakers, and sophomore Austin Bossart added to Penn’s offensive explosion, launching a home run into center field in the eighth inning.
Junior Cody Thomson gave up two runs in 5.1 innings pitched, earning his second win of the season.
“He battled,” Cole said. “He threw enough good pitches when he had to … give us a chance to win a ball game, and that’s his job.”
Freshman Mitch Holtz took the middle relief for Penn, giving up no hits in 1.1 innings before senior John Beasley came in to finish the game.
However, La Salle tacked on a run in the eighth, closing the score at 5-3.
Beasley ran into some more trouble in the bottom of the ninth, with men at the corners and two outs. Sophomore Ronnie Glenn came in to face La Salle freshman Joey Ravert, a left-handed hitter. Glenn hit the first batter he saw to load the bases, but got George Smith Jr. to pop out for the final out, recording his seventh save.
As the weather cools, the Quakers hope their bats will stay hot as they start division play this weekend in a four-game series against rival Princeton.
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