PHILADELPHIA - Two huge innings from the Columbia Lions on Friday afternoon were all that was needed to get past the Penn baseball team in the final home games of the year at Meiklejohn Stadium. Quaker starters Cody Thomson and Ronnie Glenn took the losses in the games, even though it was after they left when things really went downhill for the Red and Blue. Columbia scored eight in the top of the seventh inning in the first contest to win 12-2, before a nine-run inning in the second game ultimately led to a 13-3 victory.
Penn and Columbia close out the regular season with a doubleheader at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium in New York City tomorrow beginning at 12 p.m.
Game One- Columbia 12, Penn 2
Though Columbia would score once in the first inning off of Thomson, it wasn't until late when most of the damage was done. A lead-off walk and hit batter put two on for the Lions in their first at-bat and they scored when a sharply hit ground ball bounced low beyond the reach of Spencer Branigan at first base, bringing a run in to score. The 1-0 lead remained until the third inning when Columbia would strike again, this time an unearned run after Brandon Engelhardt misplayed a ball in left field.
Trailing 2-0, Penn was able to come right back and take advantage of a defensive miscue from the Lions, cutting the lead in half at 2-1 after Engelhardt reached on an infield error and scored on a double from Ryan Deitrich.
The score would see-saw from there. Columbia added a run in the top of the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly with runners aboard, only to see Penn again cut the lead to one with a RBI single from Greg Zebrack in the bottom of the frame. With two down and no one on in the fifth, Thomson appeared to be cruising towards an easy inning, until Alex Black cranked a solo blast to left for a 4-2 lead.
Though Penn put runners in scoring position in both the fifth and sixth innings, the Quakers failed to convert those opportunities into runs, leaving the score unchanged at 4-2 headed to the seventh. Having hit the century mark in pitches thrown an inning earlier, Thomson walked and hit the first two batters of the inning before being lifted. Columbia quickly loaded the bases and poured it on the Quaker bullpen, scoring eight runs off four hits, three walks and three hit batters to completely change the tone of the contest with a 12-2 edge.
Columbia would end the game with a 6-3 double play, but not before senior Evan Schreyer collected the first hit of his Penn career with a solid single though the left side of the infield in the bottom of the seventh.
Game Two - Columbia 13, Penn 3
After two solid innings from Glenn to open the day's second contest, the Quakers found a bit of offensive rhythm off of Columbia starter Tim Giel to take a lead in the bottom of the second inning. Branigan led off the inning with a double to deep center field and he advanced to third thanks to an Austin Bossart single to right. With one down and men on the corners, Mitch Montaldo chopped a ball to second base that left Columbia's Nick Crucet with no choice but to go to first for the out, scoring Branigan for the early edge.
The lead was short-lived for Penn as the Lions scraped together three runs in the top of the third. After the lead-off hitter reached, Glenn made a nice play on a sac bunt attempt to get the lead runner at second for the first out. Moments later, he appeared to have the runner at first picked off but was instead called for a balk, moving the man to second. An infield pop-up put two down in the inning and almost had the Quakers out of trouble but Columbia strung together four consecutive singles to take a 3-1 lead.
With Glenn batting in the DH spot as well as pitching, he was able to take out some frustration in the bottom of the third. He and Deitrich put back-to-back doubles off the wall in left field with Glenn picking up the RBI, cutting the lead to 3-2.
The big inning swung the game in Columbia's favor for the second time in a row in the fourth. The Lions scored nine times off six hits, three free passes by walk or hit batter and two Penn errors to take a commanding 12-2 lead. Things went Columbia's way even when the Quakers did something good, such as the strike three that got past Bossart and allowed Emmanuel Cabreja to reach, a mistake that would eventually let two more runs score before the third out was made.
Patrick Brennan took over in the top of the fifth inning and shut down the Lions with his longest outing on the mound since March 20, 2011. The senior pitched extraordinarily well in his last game at Meiklejohn Stadium, going four complete innings and giving up only one run on a solo homer in the seventh that extended the Lions' lead to 13-2. Besides that one mistake pitch, Brennan was in command, striking out the side in the fifth inning and leaving the bases loaded twice.
Deitrich continued to swing a hot bat with his second double of the game and fourth of the day in the bottom of the eighth inning. Glenn advanced him to third and Matt McKinnon hit a ground ball RBI to put Penn's last run of the day on the board. Alex Ott worked a scoreless ninth but the lead proved too large for the Red and Blue to overcome in the late stages.