In a jam-packed Meiklejohn Stadium, Penn baseball played Princeton in a three-game series this weekend. The Red and Blue fed off of their fans’ support and beat the Tigers in the series — taking two out of the three games.
Coming off of their loss against Monmouth on Wednesday, the Quakers beat Princeton, 15-9, in game one on Friday. Penn (19-10, 8-4 Ivy) took advantage of wild pitching and numerous errors by the Tigers (7-21, 4-8) to score throughout the game and bounce back from the Monmouth loss.
“Off the field, everyone got a little more sleep [and] a couple more days of rest to prepare for Friday,” junior starting pitcher Christian Scafidi said. “We recognized what we did wrong as far as our approach to the plate [on Wednesday], and we changed it up and tweaked it based on what we thought Princeton was going to bring to us. As far as pitchers, we put more emphasis throughout that week on making sure you’re going to hit that spot or swirl your off-speed to the right place and execute more of those pitches.”
These strategies surely paid off for the Quakers — especially in the first two games this weekend.
On Saturday, the Red and Blue out-dueled Princeton, 1-0, after sophomore designated hitter Jackson Petersen plated sophomore pinch runner Kyle Cronk with a sacrifice fly in the 8th inning. Tigers' pitcher James Proctor went the distance but did not receive any run support from his offense.
On the other side Scafidi pitched a gem — throwing 8.1 innings and giving up just one walk the entire game. The Penn ace struck out 11 batters, making him the first Quaker since 2016 to punch out double digit hitters.
“I had a good work week working with assistant coach Josh Schwartz. He got me along the right track. I was able to locate the ball well, and we elevated a few pitches which ended up getting a lot of swings and misses from them, and that was what led to so many strikeouts,” Scafidi said.
Saturday’s second game was a 7-2 loss for the Red and Blue. Junior Josh Sidney started the contest but only went 1.2 innings. Sidney gave up seven runs, only three of which were earned. Reliever John Alan Kendrick — who replaced Sydney in the second frame — shut down the Tigers in his 7.1 innings of work. The junior didn't allow a hit and struck out seven.
“We made an error — it was a hit by pitch — and we kind of misplayed a bunt coverage and then next thing you know they put seven runs up on the board,” coach John Yurkow said. “We were a little disappointed that weren’t able to complete it and get the sweep and win game three, but at the same time I think you have to give a little credit to Princeton.”
As Yurkow alluded to, the Red and Blue weren't able to get back into the game after giving up the seven runs in the first two frames. With that being said, the team is already focused on the next part of its schedule.
“In baseball you’re going to play maybe 30-45 games a year so once you get into a season it’s fast and furious, there’s not a lot of time to dwell on, ‘is it a good outing or a bad outing?’ so you have to move on from that pretty quickly,” Yurkow said.
Overall, the Red and Blue had a strong weekend and their wins put them near the top of the Ivy League. They currently stand tied for second place in the conference and will travel across town to face La Salle in a nonconference matchup on Tuesday.