PHILADELPHIA - The Penn baseball team and W. Joseph Blood Head Coach of Baseball John Cole released the 2013 schedule on Monday. The Quakers will take on squads from seven leagues up and down the East Coast in non-conference play, plus the always-grueling Ivy League schedule. Of the 43 games on the docket, Penn will host 16 of them at Meiklejohn Stadium.
For the first time since the 2005 season, Penn will eschew an early-season trip to Florida, instead staying slightly closer to home as the Quakers embark on a spring break trip that will take the team through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. A four-game trip to William & Mary opens the season from March 1-3, with a twinbill being contested on the middle day of the series. The Tribe is coming off a 26-win campaign in 2012 but will be without last season's CAA Pitcher of the Year Matt Davenport, who graduated and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Following a travel day, Penn will settle in for a pair of games on Tobacco Road, facing Duke on March 5-6. The Blue Devils finished sixth in the ACC's Coastal Division in 2012, and will have to deal with the loss of pitcher Marcus Stroman, a first-round selection of the Toronto Blue Jays this summer.
The spring trip concludes March 8-10 with three games against the Winthrop Eagles. The Big South member finished 10th in the league a year ago, but looks to rebuild with a highly-touted recruiting class.
Although not officially a part of the spring break trip, Penn has one final road contest before hosting its home opener. The Red and Blue will play a mid-week contest at Towson on March 13. The Tigers finished in a fifth-place tie in the CAA last season and had two returning members of the team named second-team All-CAA.
The home portion of the 2013 schedule gets underway on March 16 when Penn welcomes in George Washington for a split home-and-home series. The Quakers host GW in a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m., then return the trip to the Colonials' Arlington, Va.-based ballpark for a doubleheader on March 17.
The Quakers get their first taste of Big 5 action when they welcome in the Villanova Wildcats for a 3 p.m. game on March 20. Penn downed the Wildcats twice last season, including an 11-4 win in a Liberty Bell Classic quarterfinal matchup.
The next weekend will once again see Penn engaged in a home-and-home battle, this time with the Lafayette Leopards. The Quakers travel upstate for two games on March 23, then come back to "The Meik" for a 12 p.m. doubleheader on March 24.
The final tune-up before conference play begins is a March 26 road date against a yet-to-be-determined opponent in the Liberty Bell Classic quarterfinals. Comprised of all the Big 5 schools, as well as Delaware, Lafayette and Lehigh, the Liberty Bell Classic guarantees all eight teams at least two games, with the winners of the quarterfinal and semifinal tilts clinching a spot in the championship game played at Citizens Bank Park. Penn made its first-ever appearance in the title game a year ago after defeating Villanova and La Salle.
Ivy League play begins on the final weekend of March, with the Quakers taking on a pair of opponents from the Red Rolfe Division. Harvard is up first for Penn, dropping in for a doubleheader on March 30. The next day, five-time defending Rolfe Division champion Dartmouth will make its way to Philadelphia. The Big Green has twice been an NCAA Tournament participant in that span. Every league doubleheader is scheduled for a 12 p.m. first pitch.
On April 10, the Quakers will head to La Salle for a 3 p.m. meeting with the Explorers. The two teams split a pair of games last season that featured offensive fireworks on both sides, Penn winning 9-4 before La Salle answered back with an 11-4 victory.
Penn will turn its focus to the Lou Gehrig Division on the weekend of April 13-14 when Princeton makes the short trip to Philadelphia for a four-game set. The Tigers nearly completed a miraculous recovery to defeat Cornell in the division race last season but settled for second as the Big Red were able to hold them off on the final day of the regular season.
The non-conference season is scheduled to conclude on April 17 when the Red and Blue travel to Lehigh. With both teams taking part in the Liberty Bell Classic, this game could be rescheduled or cancelled if either team advances to Citizens Bank Park.
The regular season concludes on the weekend of April 26-27 when Columbia and Penn meet for one last home-and-home series. The Quakers travel to New York City on April 26 before returning to the friendly confines of Meiklejohn Stadium for Senior Day on April 27.
Penn will go on the road in Ivy League play to meet Brown (April 6) and Yale (April 7), as well as a four-game set with Cornell (April 20-21).
Senior outfielder Ryan Deitrich (second-team All-Ivy in 2012) and sophomore catcher Austin Bossart (honorable mention All-Ivy) figure to anchor this year's Penn squad, which finished with 17 wins a year ago. The addition of a nine-man recruiting class will also figure into Cole's plans, as the Quakers have just three seniors and nine upperclassmen on the roster.