It may have been a chilly day on Tuesday, but the Quakers’ bats were red hot.
Penn baseball trounced La Salle 17-7 in a non-conference showdown at Meiklejohn Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. After finding themselves down 3-0 entering the bottom of the second, the Quakers came alive by scoring a whopping 12 runs in the second frame.
Penn (11-19-1, 5-6-1 Ivy) recorded 10 of its 21 hits in this inning. By the end of the afternoon, every player in the Quakers’ starting lineup had a base hit, and seven had more than one. Sophomore right fielder Peter Matt and second baseman Chris Adams led with four base knocks.
“[The second inning] kind of reminded me of the inning that we had at Princeton the other day,” coach John Yurkow said, recalling the team's five-run outburst in the first inning of last weekend's 10-1 win. “We had a lot of low line drives. I thought we had some good at-bats, backed up some balls opposite field, which was good ... we’ve just been hitting the ball a lot better, so hopefully we can carry it through to this weekend.”
From the second inning onward, Penn shifted into cruise control and didn’t let La Salle (10-24, 2-7 Atlantic 10) back into the game. The Quakers continued to pile it on, scoring an additional five runs by the game’s end.
Sophomore Cole Sichley started on the bump for the Red and Blue. The right-hander tossed 1.2 innings before the bullpen took over for the rest of the way.
This electric performance was a team effort in every respect, as Penn gave the home fans a game to remember.
This weekend, the Quakers will be back at the Meik for their final home series versus Cornell. The Big Red (6-16-1, 2-7 Ivy) enter this matchup sitting last in the Ivy League standings, while Penn is in the middle of the pack at fifth after last weekend's series win at Princeton
The Red and Blue will look to use Tuesday’s game and the Princeton series as momentum heading into the upcoming three-game set. They are currently four games back of league-leading Yale and three games behind second-place Columbia, making this weekend an important one if they want to get back in the championship race.
Cornell will try to play spoiler, as its hopes for an Ivy title are essentially finished. With that being said, the Big Red have hung tough in all three of their series, so the Quakers cannot afford to take them lightly.
“We don’t have a lot of wiggle room, so we have to play well,” Yurkow said. “We have to play every one of these games like, I hate to say it’s a must-win, but ... there can’t be any let-ups if we’re gonna make up some ground.”
Senior outfielder Kyle Gallagher has led the way for Cornell this season, hitting .301 while maintaining a .463 on-base percentage. On the mound, Cornell will likely start senior Tim Willittes and sophomore Seth Urbon in the Saturday doubleheader, both of whom are right-handers. The starter for the Sunday finale is more up-in-the-air, as senior left-hander Tyler Fernandez and sophomore right-hander Jeb Bemiss both have experience starting Ivy games.
Penn, on the other hand, will likely stick with the trio of senior LHP Gabe Kleiman and sophomore RHPs Mitchell Holcomb and Christian Scafidi, although Yurkow could ultimately move someone from the bullpen into a starting role.
The Red and Blue seem to be peaking at the right time, winning three of their last four games. If they can notch a sweep against the Big Red this weekend, they will put themselves in a better position heading into the last two conference series of the regular season.