Baseball Splits First Home Games of 2013
PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania baseball team split a pair of contests with the visiting George Washington Colonials on Sunday at Meikeljohn Stadium. Pat Bet took the hard-luck loss in the opener. The Colonials scored six runs on the Penn junior, but only one of them was earned. After a 6-4 defeat to start the day, the Quakers ended it with a 6-4 victory of their own. Dan Gautieri went five innings and improved to 3-0 on the year while Ronnie Glenn gutted out a tough save, his fifth of the year. The Quakers, who host Villanova on Wednesday at 3 p.m., go to 8-6 on the season.
Game One - George Washington 6, Penn 4
Penn came out a little flat in Sunday's opener and George Washington took full advantage, scoring unearned runs in each of the first three innings and hanging on to defeat the Quakers and avoid the potential for a four-game sweep. The Red and Blue fell behind in the top of the first inning as a misplayed line drive into the outfield resulted in a bobble and error, scoring runners from second and third for a 2-0 lead.
The Quaker miscues continued in the second inning as a low throw to Spencer Branigan at first resulted in runners on the corners with just one away in the frame. A deep fly ball was enough to score Justin Albright, resulting in a 3-0 George Washington edge.
The biggest blow came in the third inning. The Colonials loaded the bases with one away in the inning and then bunted a runner home to make it 4-0. That was the only earned run of the day that Bet gave up, but it got worse as a ground ball to second base ended with confusion and a throwing error as Ryan Mincher tossed between Branigan and Bet, who each were attempting to cover first. Two more runs came across on the play, spotting GW a 6-0.
Penn needed offense in a hurry and got it as Marshall Harden led off with a single, then scored as Mike Vilardo tripled deep into right-center. Ryan Deitrich brought Vilardo home with a grounder to second base, making it 6-2 after three innings.
Bet shut down the Colonials in the fourth and the Quakers continued to pound away at George Washington starter Max Kaplow in the bottom of the inning. After a lead-off bunt single from Austin Bossart, it was Mitch Montaldo's turn to bring a run home with a triple. Two batters later, a soft ground ball from Harden was placed well enough to bring Montaldo home without a throw, cutting the deficit to 6-4.
Bet faced just one batter in the fifth inning before being lifted for Mitch Holtz. Holtz struck out his first batter, then picked off the GW baserunner and got the third out on a tapper out in front of home plate that Bossart handled easily.
Though the Quakers had the momentum, George Washington reliever Craig Lejeune slammed the door shut over the final 3.1 innings. The GW reliever picked up his first save of the year by striking out three and not allowing a single Penn baserunner from the end of the fourth inning on. With the first game of Sunday's twinbill being contested over only seven innings, the Red and Blue were never able to work deeper into the Colonials' bullpen and ultimately saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.
Game Two - Penn 6, George Washington 4
Entering the game with only one appearance and one putout on the season to his name, George Washington's Albright was able to get through the Penn order once without too much trouble, but the bottom of the Quakers' batting order hit him hard to start the third inning and started a rally that would give the Red and Blue a lead they would never give up the rest of the way.
With Gautieri and Albright locked in a struggle for the first two frames, a pair of freshmen - Mincher and Gary Tesch - finally got the Penn offense clicking. Mincher led off the bottom of the third with a double to the center field wall and Tesch then bunted him over to third while beating the throw. Brandon Engelhardt's second hit of the game, this time a triple, brought both runners home for a 2-0 lead. With one away in the inning, Deitrich knocked a base-hit in between first and second to score Engelhardt and make it 3-0.
The Penn defense lifted its game when needed in the afternoon contest and it all started in the fourth inning. Gautieri was laboring in the fourth inning and faced runners on the corners with one down when he got GW's Eric Kalman to hit into a slick 6-4-3 double play. The Quakers added to the lead in the bottom of the inning as Mincher and Engelhardt put together a pair of doubles to make it 4-0 and drive Albright out of the game.
Gautieri gave up one run in the fifth inning off a pair of two-out hits before giving way to Montaldo in relief. Penn's do-it-all utility man sat down the first seven George Washington batters he faced until running into trouble with one out in the eighth inning. The Quakers had two down but with men on second and third when a softly-hit ground ball to shortstop scored a pair. Though the throw wouldn't have reached the bag in time to get the runner, it also was low and caromed away from Branigan, bringing a second run home and suddenly pulling the Colonials within just a single run, 4-3. That was all for Montaldo, as Glenn came in to try for the four-out save. On just his second pitch, Bossart ended the drama with a laser throw down to second to catch the GW runner moving.
Penn added back onto its lead with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth. George Washington ended up throwing two balls into its own dugout on consecutive batters, scoring Tesch and Montaldo and putting the Quakers up by three runs once again 6-3.
Those extra runs would turn into a blessing as the ninth inning became a little too close for comfort. A one-out single and double put men on second and third, and each moved up 90 feet after a wild pitch bounced past Bossart. After pinch-hitter Travers Nammack walked, the Colonials found themselves with the go-ahead run at the plate in Matthew Murakami. Again, Penn's pitching and defense dug in and found a way to escape the jam. After losing it momentarily against the previous batter, Glenn rediscovered the strike zone and got Murakami to hit into another 6-4-3 double play, this time ending the game for a Penn victory.
Batting lead-off, Engelhardt had a game-high three hits and three runs batted in, falling just a home run short of the cycle. Batting in the eight and nine holes, Mincher and Tesch each had two hits and scored a pair of runs.