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Penn baseball struggled in a 3-1 loss to Delaware, but the Quakers will now turn to their attention to Columbia as they are still in contention for an Ivy championship berth.

Credit: Chase Sutton

The Quakers’ offense laid an egg against the Blue Hens.

Penn baseball never got its bats going and ended up losing at Delaware 3-1. After scoring at least six runs in each of their last five contests, the Quakers’ bats were stymied by effective pitching and timely defense by the Blue Hens.

Delaware (21-17, 7-5 CAA) scored two of its three runs via the long ball, with junior infielder Erik Bowren and outfielder Kyle Baker each bashing solo shots. Meanwhile, freshman pitcher Winston Allen held the Red and Blue scoreless through five innings, striking out five. 

Penn (12-22-1, 6-8-1 Ivy) was in prime position to grab the lead in the seventh inning. Even with five players reaching base, they were only able to manage one run in the frame. With the bases loaded, Delaware was unable to turn freshman infielder Eduardo Malinowski's grounder into an inning-ending double play, allowing Andrew Murnane to score from third. Third baseman Matt McGeagh, who has delivered in big spots for Penn all season, was unable to convert with two outs and the bases loaded two batters later.

As is the case with most weekday non-conference games, the Quakers utilized their bullpen arms heavily. Freshman right-handed pitcher Robby Cerulle made his first start on the mound and quickly found himself in trouble in the bottom of the first inning, but was able to escape without allowing a run thanks to a double play, one of four converted by the Red and Blue defense. Senior Jordan Della Valle relieved Cerulle in the third and allowed two runs in two innings of work.

This weekend, the Red and Blue will look to rebound against Columbia in New York City. The Lions (14-24, 9-6) currently sit tied with Harvard for second in the Ivy League. After two crushing defeats against Cornell last weekend, the Quakers find themselves in sixth place and are in full must-win mode for the rest of the season.

The upcoming series against Columbia presents a valuable opportunity for the Quakers, however, as they can gain a lot of ground on a team above them in the standings with a sweep.

Columbia will come into the weekend on a three-game losing streak, including two losses to fifth-place Princeton. A trio of sluggers lead the Lions’ offense. Infielder Joe Engel, sophomore catcher Liam McGill, and senior infielder Randell Kanemaru are all batting over .315 and sporting over a .400 on-base percentage. 

Columbia’s pitching rotation is likewise led by multiple starters; senior Harrisen Egly and sophomore southpaw Ben Wereski are likely to start the first two games of the series.

The Quakers are hoping that the game against Delaware was just a hiccup on the offensive side and that it will get back on track this weekend. They will need all the help they can get in order to pull off the improbable and make it all the way to the Ivy League Championship.