Baseball Ends 2012 Season with Split at Columbia
New York City - The Penn baseball season concluded on Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader split with the Columbia Lions at Columbia's Robertson Field at Satow Stadium. The Quakers led most of the way in the day's opener before allowing the Lions to take a late lead. Three runs in the top of the seventh ultimately were the deciding factor as the Red and Blue captured an 8-5 win. In the final game of the season, Columbia pounced on Penn pitching, taking an 8-0 lead after only two innings on its way to an 11-1 win. The Quakers end the season at 17-23 (8-12 Ivy).
Game One - Penn 8, Columbia 5
In Vince Voiro's final start at Penn, the senior captain was unfortunate to not pick up the win, but the Quakers rallied late to tie and eventually claim an 8-5 win on the road.
The Red and Blue got a bit of early offense, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first off a Spencer Branigan single that plated Ryan Deitrich, who reached via a double. Penn scored again in the top of the third as Greg Zebrack led off with a walk and scored as Deitrich smashed his sixth double of the series to bring him home for a 2-0 lead.
Columbia got on the board just half an inning later. After a lead-off single and walk, a sacrifice bunt moved two Lion runners into scoring position. A single to left scored the man from third but James Mraz was able to make the throw home to eliminate the trail runner, keeping Penn in the lead at 2-1.
With two down in the fifth, Deitrich singled to collect his third hit of the game. Just one out away from escaping unscathed, Columbia starter David Speer gave up a RBI double to Branigan that made it a 3-1 ballgame. One batter later, Austin Bossart singled cleanly through the left side of the infield to score Branigan.
Seemingly in command with a 4-1 lead, Voiro ran into some bad luck in the fifth when Mark Heil led off and reached on an error. A double and one-out walk loaded the bases, and Nick Ferraresi cleared them with a triple to suddenly knot the score at 4-4. Alex Black followed with a ground ball to third that brought Ferraresi in, spotting Columbia with a 5-4 lead entering the sixth inning.
Proving that things eventually even out, the Lions allowed Penn to tie the game in the sixth thanks to an unearned run. Mraz began the frame with a lead-off single and Mitch Montaldo walked to put two on. A wild pitch moved each of them up but it took a two-out error that allowed Brandon Engelhardt to reach first to bring Mraz in to tie the game.
Voiro came out strong in the sixth with his fifth strikeout of the game and easy ground out to second base, but fell into some trouble as he walked Jon Eisen at the top of the Columbia batting order and then hit pinch-hitter Alex Aurrichio. Rather than have Voiro face the middle of the Lions order, John Cole turned to Dan Gautieri, who got Penn out of the inning with a routine fly ball out to Zebrack in center.
Gautieri would go on to pick up the win as Penn tallied three more runs in the top of the seventh to blow open the previously tight contest. Branigan began by getting hit by a pitch, and pinch-runner Ronnie Glenn advanced to second on a throwing error from the catcher before coming around to give the Red and Blue the lead off a Bossart single. Another error from a ball off the bat of Montaldo scored Bossart later in the frame and Cody Dillabough brought Penn's final run home with a sacrifice fly into center for an 8-5 lead.
After a lead-off walk to begin the bottom of the seventh, Gautieri (4-1) calmed down and retired the next three hitters to claim the win.
Game Two - Columbia 11, Penn 1
Penn failed to maintain the momentum, falling by a score of 11-1 in its final contest of the 2012 campaign. Columbia jumped all over starter Stephen Silvestri, scoring eight times in the first two innings alone to take control of the game practically before it began.
The trouble began with a lead-off single and walk, leading to a RBI double from Dario Pizzano as the Lions grabbed an immediate 1-0 lead. Columbia would score twice more in the inning off run-scoring ground outs to lead by three headed to the second inning.
It was more of the same in the second as a pair of walks to begin the inning came back to haunt the Quakers. Two more runs scored as Columbia took a 5-0 lead before Silvestri's fourth walk of the game pulled the plug on his afternoon. Reliever Sam Horn struggled in relief, walking his first batter and giving up a pair of RBI singles that made it an 8-0 game before he could strike out Nick Crucet to get out of the jam.
Facing Stefan Olson, Penn never could find a groove at the plate as Olson scattered three hits over seven innings with nine strikeouts and two walks. Montaldo and Derek Vigoa doubled in the third and fifth innings but neither came around to score and Columbia set the Quakers down in order in the fourth and in the sixth.
After scoring twice more in the fifth, a lead-off triple in the seventh set the table for a sacrifice fly that brought in Columbia's final run, making it an 11-0 game. Staring down reliever Joey Gandolfo rather than Olson to begin the eighth, Penn managed its last run of the year by loading the bases for Branigan, who batted in his third run of the day with a RBI single up the middle, making it the final margin of 11-1.
NOTES: Departing seniors Greg Zebrack, Derek Vigoa and Vince Voiro are all over the Penn record book. Zebrack finishes his time at Penn ranked second in slugging pct. (.625), third in on-base pct. (.448), seventh in batting average (.339), tied for eighth in home runs (14) and tenth in doubles (29). His single-season total of 18 doubles in 2012 is tied for the third most in a year ... Vigoa, a four-year starter for the program, wraps up his time at Penn ranked second in games played (158) and started (156), third in career at-bats (577), hits (187) and double plays turned (87), and eighth in doubles (32), total bases (239) and RBI (93). In addition, his career batting average of .324 puts him tenth all-time ... Voiro tops the list in complete games (15) and is second in both games started (34) and innings pitched (226.0). His 14 wins put him third all-time in the category and he ranks sixth in ERA (4.34).