With one explosive game after another, Penn baseball picked up a series win against Dartmouth on Monday.
Everything seemed to come together for the Red and Blue (13-10, 4-2 Ivy), as offensive and defensive excellence throughout the three-game series fueled the sweep of the Big Green (1-20, 0-6) — outscoring the team 36-13. The wins marked the teams’ first sweep and Ivy series win of the season.
Discipline at the plate and composure on the mound powered much of the Quakers’ success.
“For the most part we’ve stopped swinging at balls we shouldn’t be swinging at,” coach John Yurkow said. “As a result, our walks have been going up, so it’s always good to see that — especially after seeing it hurt us at the start of the season.”
Senior left-handed pitcher Owen Coady was given the start in game one, and didn’t let his team down. Coady tossed five no-hit innings before being pulled in the sixth, but allowed no runs and fanned 11 batters.
At the plate, a forceful sixth inning push locked in Penn’s win well before the game was over. After Coady and a brief relief appearance from sophomore left-handed pitcher Will Tobin kept the Big Green scoreless through six, Penn’s explosive five-run inning extended the team’s lead to a comfortable 9-0.
Dartmouth got a substantial rally going in the bottom of the eighth that threatened to steal the Red and Blue’s lead, but another quality relief outing by sophomore right-handed pitcher Tommy Delany secured the 10-6 win. Delany is now scoreless through 8.2 total innings.
Getting the start in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, junior right-handed pitcher and starter Cole Zaffiro was dialed in. He tossed a total of 5.2 innings of scoreless work, lowering his season ERA to 2.81 — second to Coady’s 2.06 ERA. Impressive plays from the Red and Blue defense held Dartmouth hitless through the first three innings, but the same could be said in favor of the Big Green.
Neither team could get on the scoreboard until freshman infielder Davis Baker’s one-run single in the top of the fourth. But once the Quaker bats got going, they couldn’t be stopped.
“We’ve worked on swinging at the right pitches only,” Baker said. “It worked great this series. I’ve had a lot of problems with swinging at balls, but our coaches have been quick to point us in the right direction.”
After falling to 3-2 in the fifth, another late inning surge propelled Penn to a 9-4 victory. Junior third baseman Wyatt Henseler’s sac fly in the top of the sixth was the spark the team’s offense needed. The Quakers went on to score six more runs — broken up by a one-run Dartmouth single in the eighth — backed by the scoring efforts of four different Quakers.
“Earlier in the season I worked a lot with Wyatt,” Baker said. “He’s so knowledgeable and really helped me with my swing mechanics. It rubs off on the whole team as well. Together, we’ve grown more disciplined at the plate.”
Game three saw even more hits, and even more runs.
The elite pitching kept rolling, with sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Dromboski pitching six innings and striking out seven. But what truly drove Penn to the win was its offense.
Drawing nine walks, 18 hits, and 17 runs, Penn completed the sweep in dominating fashion. Through the first three innings alone, the Quakers scored 13 unanswered runs. The first half of the lineup combined for 13-for-25, with senior catcher Jackson Appel going 4-for-6 and recording six RBIs.
Penn’s first five batters each recorded at least one hit in each game of the series, and served as the team’s main score-producers. The consistent offensive output relieved a bit of the stress on Quaker pitchers, though with the amount of insurance runs the Red and Blue scored, Penn pitchers could afford to let in a run or two.
The Quakers now sit in a five-way tie for the top spot in the Ivy League according to conference records. Looking at the season as a whole, Penn’s .565 average sets them apart in first.
“The older guys who have some experience, like the seniors and juniors who played in some big games last year, have really helped prepare the team this season,” Yurkow said. “They worked really hard in the fall, and they’re doing a pretty good job as a whole. Hopefully they can keep it up.”
It will be a quick turnaround, but Penn baseball travels to Smithson Field on Wednesday, taking on St. Joe’s in the Liberty Bell Classic.