Consistency and progression were on the agenda for Penn baseball this weekend in Philly.
The Quakers beat Lafayette in four straight games this weekend at home. Penn (8-9) swept the Leopards (2-22) in back to back doubleheaders at MeikleJohn Stadium, outscoring them 22-7 in the process.
The pitching staff led the way on Saturday, allowing just a combined three runs on eight hits in the first two games of the series. Penn defeated the Leopards 2-1 and 3-2 on day one.
In the opener, senior pitcher Jake Cousins pitched seven innings, allowing only five hits and one run, improving to 2-1 on the season.
Junior Gabe Kleiman took the mound for the Quakers next, pitching six and two thirds’ innings and allowing only three hits and two runs in his first win of the season. Sophomore Jake Nelson secured the win for the Quakers with his first save of the season.
The bats broke free on Sunday, as the Quakers scored 13 runs and four Penn players hit multiple RBIs in the day's opener. Senior pitcher Mike Reitcheck pitched six innings and earned the win in the 13-3 finish. Then, in the day’s second game, senior pitcher Adam Bleday pitched for the Quakers, earning his first win of the season, followed by a save from junior Billy Lescher in a 4-1 win.
“We’re getting good starts. It was really good to see Gabe bounce back after a couple of rough starts. Mike and Adam both threw very well today. The bullpen was good. We pitched well all weekend,” coach John Yurkow said.
The team is optimistic leading into Ivy League play, especially with the strength of the pitching staff.
“The good pitchers can minimize, maybe let one or two, to stop the bleeding. This weekend, there were no big innings against us,” Yurkow added.
Senior catcher Tim Graul, last year’s Ivy Player of the Year, led by example this weekend. He thrived behind the plate, guiding the pitching staff, and had a breakthrough weekend hitting.
“I’ve just been waiting to break out a little bit. And this weekend it just kind of happened. The swing kind of fell into place,” Graul said.
The Quakers have won five straight games and are showing positive signs looking forward.
“We’ve been shuffling so much stuff around in the lineup. It’s good we’ve been starting to get some consistency, and that kind of helps you prepare,” Yurkow said.
After a trip to Florida and some cancelled practices and game time because of inclement weather conditions, the team is ready to maintain the momentum from this weekend.
“Hopefully as we go into April here and go into late March, we’ll get some better weather, and keep trying to have as much fun out here,” Graul added.
The Quakers play Lafayette again on Tuesday, but this time in Easton. The showdown gives the team one more chance to improve before the conference opener in a doubleheader against Dartmouth on April 1.