Bethlehem, Pa. - The Quakers got down early and it was too little too late as a pair of runs in the ninth left them still left them on the wrong side of a 6-5 score on Wednesday afternoon against host Lehigh.
Despite trailing 6-3 entering the ninth, the Red and Blue didn't give up as Greg Zebrack singled to lead off the inning. Senior Jeremy Maas bunted him over to second and reached on an error by the pitcher. The error allowed Zebrack to scamper to third, and he came home on a groundout to second by Will Davis. With two down, Maas scored from second on a single to center by senior Dan Williams, cutting the lead to one. Penn's comeback attempt wouldn't go any farther as a fly out ended the game.
Williams finished the day 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI while freshman Rick Brebner went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI. Classmate Brandon Engelhardt also added two hits as the team totaled 11 on the afternoon. On the mound, freshman Matt Gotschall got the start and was chased after giving up five runs in 2.2 innings. Junior Patrick Brennan, freshman Alex Ott and Chris McNulty pitched the final 5.1 innings giving up just four hits and one earned run.
Penn actually took a 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the second inning. Engelhardt singled with one out and then swiped second for his seventh steal of the season. Brebner then doubled him home for the early advantage.
Lehigh broke through in a big way in the bottom of the third, scoring five times against Gotschall. The Mountain Hawks scored two runs with less than two outs, and then added three more hits and three runs with two-down to push their lead out to 5-1.
The Quakers tried to close the gap in the sixth as they loaded the bases with just one out. Brebner flied out to left field, but Williams was able to score from third, making it a 5-2 game. However, a groundout to third by pinch hitter Mike Mariano ended the scoring threat. Lehigh added a run in the bottom of the frame to make it a four-run game once again, 6-2.
In the top of the seventh the Penn offense scored again as Maas singled with one out. Davis followed with a double and Branigan hit an RBI groundout to second, cutting the deficit to 6-3. Neither team scored again until the ninth when the Red and Blue started their ninth inning rally.
With the loss Penn falls to 16-16 overall. The Quakers return to action this weekend for a key four-game series with the Cornell Big Red. The team plays doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, with action starting at noon each day.