PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers belted three home runs in the first game of the afternoon to beat Princeton 12-4, but in the second game three Penn errors proved to be costly as the Tigers came back for the 6-5 win at Meiklejohn Stadium on Friday.
The Red and Blue scored 12 times on 12 hits in the first game but got only five runs on 11 hits in the second. Sophomore Greg Zebrack continued his hot hitting, going 4-for-6 on the day with a home run, three runs and four RBI. Classmate Spencer Branigan smacked a pair of home runs, one in each game, and went 3-for-7 with two runs and four RBI.
Paul Cusick got the win on the mound for Penn by pitching a complete-game and only giving up six hits and two earned runs. The righty finished the game with seven strikeouts and walked just a pair of batters to earn his fourth victory of the season. In the second game, junior Chris McNulty went 7.1 innings and allowed three earned runs, walked a batter and struck out two. Cody Thomson pitched the final 1.2 innings without giving up an earned run, but allowed two hits and was charged with the loss.
The Quakers fall to 16-13 on the year and 7-3 in Ivy League play. Princeton, meanwhile, moves to 13-16 and into a tie with Penn at 7-3 in league action.
In the first game Greg Zebrack led off the bottom of the first and blasted the first pitch he saw over the fence in deep right field for the 1-0 lead. In the top of the second, a leadoff double came back to haunt Cusick as Princeton tied up the game at 1-1.
The Red and Blue broke open the game in the bottom of the frame with six runs as the team batted around. Junior Derek Vigoa and freshman Rick Brebner each singled with one out and then with two down Engelhardt hit a ball that was muffed by the shortstop. Vigoa came home to score on the play, and one batter later Zebrack singled home Brebner. With two on and two out senior Dan Williams tripled down the right field line, scoring two more to make the score 5-1. Jeremy Maas followed with an RBI single and Branigan matched him with an RBI single of his own to push Penn's advantage to 7-1.
An inning later the Quakers added to their lead as Brebner and Lorenzo both singled and came around to score, Brebner on a double by Zebrack and Lorenzo on a sacrifice fly by Williams
The Tigers got one back in the fourth inning and added two more unearned runs in the top of the sixth to climb within five at 9-4. However, any hope of the comeback evaporated in the bottom of the frame. Zebrack reached on a fielding error to open the inning and two outs later Will Davis brought him home with his sixth home run of the season. Branigan made it back-to-back dingers with one of his own over the left field fence to give Penn the 12-4 lead.
In the second game, McNulty gave up a leadoff single to Jonathan York. He came around to score on a single up the middle, giving Princeton the early 1-0 lead. It remained a one-run game until the bottom of the fifth when Adrian Lorenzo singled with one out. The speedy senior stole second and then scored on a single by Williams to left field.
The Tigers broke the 1-1 tie in the top of the six with a run, but Penn took the lead back with two in the bottom of the frame. Davis led off with a single and Branigan followed with a shot way over the right field fence for his team-leading sixth home run of the year.
Penn's 3-2 lead wouldn't hold long as Princeton scored a run to tie it in the top of the seventh. However, in the bottom of the frame the Red and Blue loaded the bases with one out. Senior Mike Mariano came into pinch hit and smacked a ball that was destined for the wall in left before the wind got a hold of it and the left-fielder was able to get back to make the catch. Williams tagged up on third and scored on the play to put Penn in front once again, 4-3.
In the top of the eighth errors cost the Quakers as the Tigers scored three unearned runs, with all three coming on consecutive plays. The poor defense put the Quakers in a 6-4 hole but in the eighth they got one back on a two-out RBI triple by Zebrack. Unfortunately it was too little too late as pitcher Matt Grabowski entered and promptly retired the final four Penn batters of the game in order.
Penn and Princeton return to Meiklejohn Stadium on Sunday with first place in the Lou Gehrig Division on the line for a doubleheader beginning at noon.