ANNAPOLIS, Md. – In the final game of three for the weekend at Navy’s Max Bishop Stadium, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team saw two big innings hamstring its chances to defeat Monmouth, rallying back in the eighth and ninth innings, before falling 7-5 Sunday afternoon.
Trailing 7-1 in the eighth inning, Penn (0-6) put together Mike Vilardo and Connor Betbeze singles, and an Austin Bossart hit-by-pitch, ahead of a Jeff McGarry double down the leftfield line, scoring Vilardo and Betbeze.
Down 7-3, Marshall Harden drew a walk, reloading the bases, when Rick Brebner hit a long fly ball to right-center field that sent the center fielder back towards the warning track before hauling it in. Bossart would tag up and score on Brebner’s sacrifice-fly making it 7-4 heading into the ninth.
After sophomore reliever Brian Schwarzbach retired Monmouth in the top of the ninth, Vilardo stroked a two-out triple to left field, and then scored on a Betbeze single through the right side.
With the tying run at the plate in Bossart, the junior catcher grounded out to second base, ending Penn’s chance for the come from behind victory.
Penn looked poised to control the game early on, after taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a Bossart infield single and a Harden run-scoring double down the left field line. On the mound, junior right-hander Dan Gautieri was sharp through four innings, allowing only one hit, with five strikeouts.
In the top of the fifth, Gautieri found himself in trouble after a leadoff strikeout, relinquishing two doubles, two singles, and a walk leading to four Monmouth runs.
The Hawks (2-7) would extend their lead in the eighth inning against the Quakers bullpen, scoring two runs against junior Stephen Silvestri and one against freshman Andrew Burnick, to take a 7-1 lead.
It was then that Penn mounted its comeback in the eighth and ninth innings, before ultimately falling short.
*Up Next: The Quakers will play on Tuesday, March 11, at Delaware State in a doubleheader slated to begin at 12 p.m., with the second game to take place around 3 p.m. Penn and Delaware State will be playing the doubleheader in place of the originally schedule Tuesday/Wednesday matchup.
*Note: Schedule change from original schedule.