Don’t look now, but the Quakers are streaking.
With its 13-2 win against Lehigh on Wednesday afternoon, Penn baseball secured its seventh consecutive victory. In those seven games, the Red and Blue have put 10 or more runs on the board five times and won four games with double-digit margins of victory.
The Quakers (10-4) got going early in the second-inning with a two-run home run by senior catcher Matt O’Neill to take a 2-0 lead, and the Red and Blue never let the Mountain Hawks (8-9) back into the game. O’Neill, who went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in on the day, extended his career home run count to 17, a figure that leads all active players for Penn.
The offense did not show up in every inning for the Quakers, but when it did, it was explosive: In the fifth and sixth innings alone, the Red and Blue put up 10 total runs. The fifth inning saw the them cross home plate four times after sophomore left fielder Eduardo Malinowski, who turned in a 2-for-3 hitting performance with two RBIs, got things flowing with another homer to left field to make it 3-0.
After RBI singles by freshman center fielder Tommy Courtney and junior right fielder Peter Matt extended the Quakers’ lead to five runs, senior first baseman Sean Phelan flied out to center field to score Courtney and round out the inning’s scoring.
In the sixth frame, the hot bats got even hotter. Malinowski again opened the scoring; after hitting a double to left-center field and stealing third base, the sophomore reached home on an error by Lehigh freshman catcher Casey Rother to bring the lead to 7-0.
Sophomore designated hitter Jackson Petersen kept things rolling with an RBI single to right field that scored senior third baseman Matt McGeagh. After Penn loaded the bases, Phelan walked to bring home Petersen and stretch the margin to nine.
Freshman second baseman Craig Larsen then drove in two additional runs with an RBI single to right-center field, and Phelan was the last Quaker to score in the sixth inning when Malinowski was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Trailing 12-0, the Mountain Hawks finally found a way to put runs on the board in the eighth inning. Senior left fielder Ryan Malloy grounded out to score freshman third baseman Gerard Sweeney before Rother singled to center field to bring in sophomore second baseman Eric Cichocki and cut the deficit to 12-2 as the two teams headed into the final inning of play.
Petersen added a 13th and final run for Penn in the ninth frame, and while the score capped off an impressive offensive showing for the Red and Blue, the pitching performance was just as responsible for the big victory. Freshman pitcher Joe Miller got the win for the Quakers, keeping Lehigh off the scoreboard in his six innings of work on the mound. Freshman pitcher Seth DeVries got the game’s final three outs to seal the win.
Next on the docket for Penn is a three-game series against Harvard (8-4). The Red and Blue will welcome the Crimson to Meiklejohn Stadium on March 23 for a Saturday doubleheader before returning for game three on Sunday.
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