PHILADELPHIA- The Penn baseball team took one of two against Brown on Monday afternoon and kept pace with the rest of the Lou Gehrig Division at 3-1 in Ivy League play after one weekend of conference action. Brown exploded for 10 runs in the fourth inning of Monday's opener on its way to a 12-2 win but Penn rallied from a pair of deficits in Game Two, winning on a Brandon Engelhardt RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning, 7-5.
Game One - Brown 12, Penn 2
Although Penn had great success in the early innings against Yale on Sunday, the offense couldn't get it going facing Brown's Heath Mayo in Monday's opening contest. Connor Cuff was in control early on for the Quakers, striking out the first two hitters he faced, but the Red and Blue missed out on a golden opportunity in the bottom of the second inning when they couldn't score with runners on second and third and only one out.
Brown began to make some noise in the third inning, loading the bases with one away before Cuff locked down, ending the frame with an infield fly and his fourth strikeout of the game. But after Penn again went down in the bottom of the third with Mayo facing the minimum, the floodgates opened for the Quakers. The Bears pounded out seven hits in the top of the fourth and took full advantage of two walks, two hit batters, a pair of wild pitches, a balk and an error as Penn couldn't seem to get out of its own way for that one particular inning. A total of four pitchers saw work in the fourth before Mike Zuppe ended it with a fielder's choice grounder.
Brown added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 12-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh before the Quakers finally broke through. Ryan Deitrich opened the last at-bat with a seeing eye single and moved into scoring position at second with two outs. Back-to-back doubles from James Mraz and Greg Zebrack put two runs on the board for Penn, giving them at least a shred of offensive momentum heading into the second half of the twinbill.
Game Two - Penn 7, Brown 5
Penn equaled its offensive output from the afternoon's first game within the first three batters of Game Two. After Quakers' starter Sam Horn retired Brown in order in the first inning, Engelhardt led off for Penn with a walk and advanced to second on a single from Mraz. With the ever-dangerous Zebrack at the plate, Brown starter Ed Fitzpatrick uncorked a wild pitch to move both runners up to second and third and was then called for a balk, scoring Engelhardt for a 1-0 Penn lead. Zebrack finished his at-bat with a deep fly to center, bringing Mraz home and extending the lead out to 2-0.
Brown grabbed its first lead of the ballgame in the third inning, as three consecutive singles loaded the bases with no out for Graham Tyler, who lofted a ball deep into the left field corner. All three runs would come around to score for a 3-2 lead, though Tyler would be tagged out at third trying to stretch his hit to a triple.
The Quakers stormed back in the bottom of the inning to tie it at 3-3 as Zebrack doubled down the left field line and was quickly cashed in thanks to a Spencer Branigan RBI single to center.
Horn ran into some trouble in the fourth inning as Brown's offense again asserted itself. John Sheridan singled to open the inning but he was gunned down by Austin Bossart trying to steal second. Undeterred, the Bears followed up with three more base hits to load them up, chasing Horn from the game as John Cole turned to Ronnie Glenn to limit the damage. The first man Glenn faced lined a ball back up the middle to stake Brown to a 5-3 lead but the freshman responded with two strikeouts to retire the side and Deitrich cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth with a solo blast to left-center, making it 5-4.
Glenn had no trouble as he worked through the seventh inning and Penn squared the contest again in the sixth when Derek Vigoa and Deitrich reached base with no outs. The two advanced into scoring position off a Bossart sacrifice bunt and Vigoa scored after Matt McKinnon fell behind 0-2 but put the ball in play with a chopper to third.
After John Beasley worked a scoreless eighth, the Quakers used one final surge to nab the victory. Vigoa led off with a single and a pair of sacrifice bunts from Deitrich and Kyle Toomey advanced him and Bossart to second and third with two outs. Back at the top of the order, Engelhardt ripped a grounder past the diving second baseman to score both runners, putting Beasley in line for the win.
Dan Gautieri worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save, sandwiching a pair of strikeouts around a 6-3 putout that featured some nimble footwork from Vigoa at short. The senior gloved a grounder headed up the middle, spun 360° and rocketed a throw over to Branigan at first for the second out.
Penn has one game left on the docket before earning a couple days of much-needed rest. The Quakers travel to La Salle tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. for a Liberty Bell Classic semifinal matchup, with the winner advancing to Citizens Bank Park on April 17 to meet the survivor of Delaware-St. Joseph's.