PHILADELPHIA - After finishing the regular season tied atop the Ivy League Gehrig Division at 15-5, it came down to a single game for the University of Pennsylvania baseball team, taking on Columbia. The Quakers and Lions, squared off in a one-game playoff for the division title Saturday afternoon at Meiklejohn Stadium, with Columbia coming out on top, 4-0.
Penn (24-17, 15-5 Ivy) managed just five hits on the afternoon, getting two from sophomore Mike Vilardo. Columbia’s senior left-handed pitcher David Speer (6-2) pitched a complete game, striking out nine, in holding Penn scoreless.
The Lions (25-17, 15-5 Ivy), struck first in the third inning, after a leadoff single, followed by a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner to second base. A Robb Paller single to center would drive in the run, giving Columbia a 1-0 lead.
Penn starting pitcher Connor Cuff (5-3) would go on to surrender three more runs, ending his outing throwing 5 2/3 innings, with seven hits, four runs, a walk, and two strikeouts.
The Quakers best chance to score in the game came in the fourth inning, trailing 2-0. Sophomore Matt Greskoff reached base to lead off the inning, after getting hit by a pitch on the hand. Vilardo then hit a ball to left field that looked as though it may fall, before the left fielder Paller recovered to make the grab. Junior Mitch Montaldo doubled over Paller’s head the very next at bat, sending Greskoff around third looking to score, before Columbia’s relay throw cut him down at the plate.
In relief, left-hander Ronnie Glenn pitched a scoreless 3 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit, while striking out three.
In Head Coach John Yurkow’s first season, Penn recorded 24 wins, the seventh most in a single-season in program history. The Quakers were looking to move in a five-way tie for third, with a 25th win. The most wins in a single-season is 29, accomplished in the 1989 season.
Penn was in contention for the Gehrig Division title for the first time since the 2007 season, when the Quakers went 12-8 in League play before falling in the Ivy Championship Series, 2-0, to Brown.