The last two weeks have been rough for Penn baseball, and this weekend was no exception.
It started well; in the first inning of their first matchup against Yale (14-21, 8-7 Ivy) on Saturday, the Quakers were up by a score of 3-0. Sophomore left fielder Eduardo Malinowski, junior right fielder Peter Matt, and freshman shortstop Josh Hood all singled in runs to get Penn going. In the subsequent 26 innings, however, things went south. The Red and Blue (19-14, 8-7) were outscored by the Bulldogs in that time by a combined 23-9 and were swept in the three-game series.
“I felt like we were satisfied with the three runs. We didn’t want to keep attacking. I felt like the general effort and energy level was down a bit this weekend. We didn’t make the timely hits we’re capable of making,” Malinowski said.
Despite losing their early lead in the first game, the Quakers still had a good chance to come away with a victory. Matt hit a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the Red and Blue back up by a 5-4 score entering the final frame. However, Penn committed two errors in the top of the ninth, leading to two Yale runs and a 6-5 deficit that later became the final score.
In the second game, which began Sunday's doubleheader, the Quakers fell behind early, giving up two runs in the top of the first inning and two more in the third to go down by a score of 4-1. With the help of a two-run home run by Hood, a sacrifice fly by Malinowski, and a Yale error, the Red and Blue were able to tie the game at seven in the seventh inning, but two more runs from the Bulldogs in the eighth ended up securing them the victory.
In the final contest of the series, the Quakers weren't able to get anything going on offense, as Yale pitcher Kumar Nambiar threw a complete-game shutout. Junior starter John Alan Kendrick kept the Red and Blue in the game, giving up three runs in six innings, but the Penn bullpen gave up five more, and the team ultimately lost, 8-0.
Malinowski, in particular, had an excellent offensive series. He finished with six timely hits, scored four runs, and drove in three. But it wasn’t enough for the Red and Blue to come away with a victory. The Quakers have now lost five straight games after starting the season 19-9. They have also lost four consecutive games in the Ivy League.
“We have to change our approach at the plate. We got away from it this weekend. We started swinging at balls out of the zone, trying to do too much at the plate rather than keeping it simple. We need to build some confidence back up so we can get back to our winning track,” Malinowski said.
The Ivy League Championship Series is not until the weekend of May 18. The Quakers still have some time to right the ship, but that window is quickly closing. If the Red and Blue do not get back on track soon, they might miss the postseason entirely.
“We need to put this series behind us and come back out with confidence,” Malinowski said. “Our goal has to be to win out in the Ivy League.”
Their next chance to end the losing streak comes Wednesday at home against Seton Hall. Their next conference matchup is a three-game series next weekend at Cornell.
This weekend series pushed the Quakers into a tie for third place with Yale. Both teams sit behind Columbia and Harvard. Columbia, Harvard, and Yale are all currently riding win streaks of at least two games, so a tough task lies ahead for the Quakers to climb the standings.
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