PHILADELPHIA – After being tied entering the weekend , it’s fitting that the University of Pennsylvania baseball team and Columbia split two games on Friday, with the Lions winning game one, 6-0, and the Quakers taking game two, 12-4.
The teams will play a doubleheader again tomorrow in New York, each team needing two victories to claim the Ivy League Gehrig Division Championship.
In Friday’s action, Columbia (23-16, 14-4 Ivy) came into game one in the midst of a 14-game winning streak, dating back to April 5. The Lions wasted no time staking their claim to number 15 straight, getting ahead early on the Quakers (23-15, 14-4 Ivy), scoring once in the first and second innings, before scoring three runs in the third.
Starting pitcher Connor Cuff (5-2) wasn’t as sharp on Friday as he has been his last three outings, starting the game allowing a base hit, before hitting a batter, and walking another to load the bases.
Behind Cuff the Quakers defense also wasn’t as solid as it has been with two critical errors that led to four of Columbia’s six runs.
Penn bounced back in game two, after a ceremony recognizing the Quakers six seniors; Pat Bet, Rick Brebner, Brandon Engelhardt, Matt Gotschall, Brian Hurst, and Cody Thomson, took place in between games.
McKinnon went 3-for-4, with four RBIs and was also hit by a pitch, while Greskoff collected two hits and three RBIs. McGarry added a double and three RBIs.
Columbia took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, before the Quakers bats finally came alive in the bottom half of the inning. With McGarry and Greskoff on second and third, Mike Vilardo hit a ground ball to second base to give Penn its first run of the day. McKinnon tallied on of his RBI singles in the inning, before senior Brandon Engelhardt knocked in a run with a base hit, giving the Quakers a 3-1 lead.
The Lions would answer right back scoring two in the third, before Penn would untie the game on a McKinnon RBI single in the bottom of the third.
Penn starter Jake Cousins worked a scoreless fourth inning, allowing the Quaker to extend their lead in the bottom half, scoring five runs, highlighted by Greskoff’s bases loaded double.
Coming on to pitch for Cousins, Mitchell Hammonds (1-0) allowed his only run of the day in the fifth, going on to throw five innings, with three strikeouts, to earn his first collegiate win.
Penn extended its lead in the bottom half of the fifth inning, making it 12-4, after McGarry cleared the bases, driving in three runs with a double.
After the split today, a split tomorrow would necessitate a one-game playoff between the Quakers and Lions. Penn entered the weekend holding the tiebreaker that would award hosting duties, if a playoff is necessary.
The Quakers and the Lions doubleheader to determine the champion of the Gehrig Division is slated to begin at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow.