The Quakers return to the friendly confines of the Meiklejohn Stadium this
weekend when they host Princeton in a pivotal four-game set against the Tigers.
The Red and Blue opening the series on Friday with a
doubleheader beginning at noon and then are scheduled to play the second
doubleheader on Sunday. Penn enters the weekend with a 15-12 record and a 6-2
mark in the Ivy League while the Tigers come into town sporting a 12-15 record
and six wins in league play.
Eight games into their 20-game Ivy schedule, the Quakers find themselves
tied atop the Lou Gehrig division with Princeton, as both have 6-2 league
records. Both teams went 4-0 in the opening weekend of the year and 2-2 last
weekend. Princeton won both its games against Harvard but dropped a pair to
Dartmouth while the Red and Blue split with both Yale and Brown. Columbia, last
year's division winner, sits in third with a 3-5 record and they play 2-6
Cornell in a four-game set this weekend.
Last Time Out: An
The Red and Blue went 2-2 in Ivy action last weekend, winning the first game
each day and losing consecutive nightcaps. Penn beat Yale 2-0 to open the
weekend behind a seven-hit shutout from the combo of senior Paul Cusick and
freshman Cody Thomson, as Cusick went eight innings with 11 strikeouts and
Thomson went the final two to get the win. However, Penn lost the second game
13-6. On Sunday the Quaker offense exploded for 14 runs against Brown to
support junior Vince Voiro in a 14-5 win. In the second game, sophomore John
Beasley had the best start of his young career, going 7.0 innings with six
strikeouts and two earned runs. The Penn offense struggled to support the
righty scoring once in the seventh and the eighth to tie up the game. However,
in the bottom of the eighth the Bears scored a pair of runs and held off the
Red and Blue in the top of the ninth to earn the 4-2 victory.
Following the Red and
Penn fans can follow all of the action via live stats and a live radio
broadcast on the Penn Sports Network.
Scouting the Quakers
Penn has one of the most potent offenses in the league, ranking third in
batting average (.287) and second in slugging percentage (.427) and on-base
percentage (.375). The Red and Blue also lead the league with 21 home runs -
five more than second place Cornell - and are second in doubles with 52. Five
Quakers are now hitting over .300 on the season led by senior Jeremy Maas and
his .394 average. He also leads the team
in slugging (.606), on-base percentage (.463), hits (43), runs (25), home runs
(5), steals (9). Junior Derek Vigoa is now second on the team in hitting with a
.313 average. The shortstop has 31 hits, 16 runs, a team-high 21 RBI and has
only struck out six times in 99 at-bats this season, tops in the Ivy League.
Freshman Brandon Engelhardt (.308), Greg Zebrack (.308) and Will Davis (.308)
are also hitting over .300 this year.
On the Hill
The Quakers have been led by a pair of upperclassmen arms this spring. Senior
Paul Cusick is having the best season of his career, having already established
career highs for innings (45.2) and strikeouts (55). The 55 K's lead the Ivy
League and he also has a 2.36 ERA, having only allowed more than two runs in
two starts this season. Junior Vince Voiro has been nearly as impressive,
sporting a 3-3 record overall with wins in each of his last two starts. For the
season he has a 3.29 ERA with three complete games, 55 strikeouts and 20 walks
in 41.0 innings of work. Junior Chris McNulty has struggled in his last two
starts and owns a 1-3 record with a 6.11 ERA on the season. However, he is 2-0
against Princeton in his career with a miniscule 0.56 ERA. In two starts he has
gone 16.0 innings, allowing just 11 hits and one earned run while striking out
ten. Sophomore John Beasley should also get the ball for one of the four games
this weekend. Last weekend he went 7.1 innings, striking out six and giving up
two earned runs in Penn's 4-2 loss to Brown. He is 1-0 in his career against
Princeton after going 7.0 innings and allowing the Tigers just three hits.
Out of the Pen
One key to the Quakers success has been the late game pitching of their
relievers. Leading that contingent is freshman Cody Thomson. The righty has
been the team's closer since they got back from Florida didn't give up an
earned run in his first 17 innings of work. That streak ended on Sunday against Brown;
however, Thomson still has a 3.16 ERA with 19 strikeouts and four walks in 25.2
innings. Junior Patrick Brennan and freshman Alex Ott have also been invaluable
out of the pen. Brennan has a career-best 4.82 ERA in 18.2 innings with 12
strikeouts and just two walks. Ott, meanwhile, allowed a run in his last appearance,
but had tossed 3.1 scoreless innings in his last three appearances.
Scouting the Tigers
Hitting: Princeton enters the weekend hitting .268 and slugging .369 with a
.344 on-base percentage. The Tigers has three players who are hitting over .300
this season, led by Mike Ford. Ford is batting .340 with 33 hits, five doubles,
18 runs and 19 RBI. Sophomore Matt Bowman is third on the team with a .310
average and leads the team with 35 hits and 22 runs, but lacks much power as
evidenced by one extra base hit this year. Catcher Sam Mulroy provides the
power for Princeton, slugging .559 with six doubles, three triples and five
Pitching: The Tigers has a number of talented young arms to throw against the
Quakers this weekend. On the season the staff has a 5.42 ERA, but have by much
better in league play with a tidy 2.20 ERA in eight Ivy games. Leading the way is
the quartet of Mike Ford, Zak Herman, Matt Bowman and Matt Grabowski. Ford is
1-0 with a 0.57 ERA in two Ivy League starts after tossing 15.2 innings with
just one earned run, two walks and 11 strikeouts. Hermans and Bowman are both
2-0 in league play with a pair of starts. Hermans has a 1.80 ERA and 14
strikeouts in 15.0 innings while Bowman has a 3.21 ERA with 13 strikeouts and
no walks in 14.0 innings. Princeton's last starter, Grabowski has a 5.06 ERA
with a 0-1 ERA and five strikeouts in 10.2 innings.
The Quakers took three of four from the Tigers in Princeton last year. Then senior
Todd Roth, Beasley and McNulty all earned wins and went at least six innings.
The Red and Blue lost the opener of the series, 8-7, but came back to win the
nightcap 13-7. The next day McNulty went 7.0 innings as Penn on 8-1 and then
finished off Princeton 14-3 in the final game of the series. Seniors Dan
Williams and Adrian Lorenzo each went 6-for-18 (.333) over the four games and
Jeremy Maas added a pair of home runs and three doubles for the Red and Blue.
Trending: Last 10
Senior catcher Will Davis is hitting .459 over his last ten games with a .892
slugging percentage and .565 on-base percentage. Over that span he is leading
the team with 16 runs, seven doubles, three home runs and is second with 12
RBI. He has also been stead behind the plate, throwing out eight potential base
stealers during that span. Classmate Paul Cusick has also been lights out
during that span, tossing 16.0 straight scoreless innings. In three appearances
he has 25 strikeouts, eight walks and allowed just seven singles and one
Trending: Last 5
The Quakers went 3-2 last week, hitting .289 as a team. Greg Zebrack went
8-for-16 and slugged .938 with a team-best six RBI over that span. He also
walked six times for an impressive .636 on-base percentage. Junior Derek Vigoa
matched Zebrack with six RBI and finished with a .389 average. He finished
7-for -18 without a strikeout on the week.