Penn baseball beat the Brown Bears in three consecutive games this weekend in its final home series of the season, extending its winning streak to seven.
On Saturday, the Quakers (26-9, 12-2 Ivy) played in a doubleheader, one of which Penn won fairly easily, the other a long, difficult battle that Penn barely scraped past Brown (8-22, 3-12) in.
The Red and Blue took the first game by a score of 5-2. The Bears threatened early, scoring their only two runs in the third inning to take a 2-0 lead on a single by Ryan Marra and a sac-fly by Reece Rappoli. However, the Quakers countered back by scoring five runs in the fourth to reach the final score. Sophomore third baseman Wyatt Henseler homered to lead off the inning to make it 2-1, and base hits by senior designated hitter Andrew Hernandez and junior left fielder Seth Werchan scored two runs each. Junior first baseman Ben Miller also came up big with three hits and one run, while senior pitcher Kevin Eaise struck out six through six innings and only gave up two runs.
The second game was a much closer affair, however. Junior second baseman Cole Palis doubled into right center in the second to open up the scoring for Penn, driving home senior shortstop Craig Larsen. Senior pitcher Joe Miller was dominant, striking out 10 through seven innings, but in the seventh, with runners on the corners, Brown's Gunner Boree bunted to score Marra and tie the game at one. Miller was taken out of the game after the inning, and both teams held serve until the 13th inning, when Brown right fielder Jared Johnson couldn't corral a Palis flyball, scoring Henseler to win the game 2-1 for Penn.
On Sunday, the Quakers and Bears played the final game of the series, a 4-2 victory for the Red and Blue. In attendance for the win were two Penn baseball legends, current Milwaukee Brewers reliever Jake Cousins, who was in town for his team's series agains the Phillies, and former MLB player Doug Glanville, who partook in two Kelly Writers House events on Monday and Tuesday.
Penn opened up the scoring with two runs in the second from a fielding error by Boree, and a sacrifice groundout by junior catcher Jackson Appel. The Bears, however, tied it up with back to back homers in the fifth and sixth innings by Marra and Johnson, respectively. In the seventh, the Quakers regained control, scoring two runs on a sac-fly by Miller and a single by Palis. Junior reliever Owen Coady took over for sophomore starter Cole Zaffiro after the fifth, and closed out the game, earning the win and giving him a 5-0 record for the year. An unlikely star of the game was junior right fielder Justin Carboni. In his first start and only third appearance of the season due to a previous injury, he notched a run, drew a walk, and had a sacrifice bunt.
The three weekend wins put the Quakers at 26-9 overall, and 12-2 within the Ivy League. They are currently second in the Ivy League standings behind Columbia (22-13, 13-2), who has won 15 straight shortly after losing two matchups in a three-game series against Penn in March. With only two Ivy League series against Yale and Princeton (both on the road) and eight games overall remaining, the Quakers will need to continue their winning ways if they want to have a shot at earning their first Ivy League title in over 25 years.
Luckily for the Red and Blue, they will have a pretty easy remaining schedule, as Yale is currently fifth in the league, while Princeton is at the bottom of the conference. Both teams are struggling for momentum this season and are currently on losing streaks.
Up next for the Quakers is a non-conference single-game matchup against Rider University at Meiklejohn Stadium on Wednesday. The Broncs, who are 20-17, will pose a tough challenge for the Quakers, but this game will not affect their conference record, which is most concerning for them at the moment. They will travel to New Haven on Friday to play a three-game series against the Bulldogs. They will then have a 10-day break before facing Delaware on the road, before concluding their regular season in New Jersey against the Tigers on the weekend of May 14. Assuming they keep their current standing in the conference, they will then play for the Ivy League championship series on May 21, with a chance of clinching a berth in the College World Series for the first time since 1997.