Baseball Descends on Citizens Bank Park for LBC Title Game
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PHILADELPHIA - Penn baseball's final non-conference game of the season is a big one as the Quakers face the St. Joseph's Hawks on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in the title game of the Liberty Bell Classic, held at Citizens Bank Park. The Quakers (15-16) made their way to The Bank with comfortable victories against Villanova and La Salle, while St. Joseph's (15-21) advanced with a 4-1 win at Temple and a 3-2 triumph at home against Delaware. All tickets for Tuesday night's game are $5 and available at the ticket windows on the first base side of the stadium. Parking for the event is free in Lot P (corner of Darien Street and Pattison Avenue). With the Philadelphia 76ers playing their final regular-season home game nearby at the Wells Fargo Center, fans are encouraged to arrive early to secure a parking space.
Last Time Out
Playing an important four-game series at Princeton, the Quakers lost a ninth-inning lead to fall in the second game of the series and went on to take only one of the four with the Tigers. The Red and Blue moved to 6-6 in the league, three back of Princeton and four behind overall leader Cornell. Vince Voiro improved to 5-2, garnering the win in Sunday's opening tilt. Greg Zebrack pounded out seven hits, including two doubles and two home runs, to lead the offense.
Following the Action
Fans who want to keep tabs on the Quakers but can't make it to Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday will be able to listen in as the Penn Sports Network offers a free audio broadcast of the contest. As always, @pennbaseball will have updates every half-inning for those who follow on Twitter, and as the designated home team, St. Joseph's will provide live stats.
About the Hawks
St. Joe's got off to an 8-20 start this year but the win over Delaware in the Liberty Bell Classic semifinals sparked a seven-game winning streak that was just halted with a 3-2 loss to UMass on Sunday.
Offense: Sophomore Kevin Kratochwill has played in only 28 of the 36 games for SJU this season and missed Sunday's contest for the Hawks, but typically will bat lead-off when inserted into the lineup, batting a team-leading .340. Of his 35 hits, only two are for extra bases. Kevin Taylor has two home runs and four doubles while Brian O'Keefe has one home run and a team-leading seven doubles. Ryan Pater and Lansing Veeder provide speed threats in the line-up, combining for nearly half of the team's 26 stolen bases on the season.
Pitching: Having just completed a three-game series over the weekend and with another weekend of conference action ahead, the Hawks will likely use a pitcher-by-committee approach. Tim Ponto (1-0, 5.40 ERA) has started four mid-week contests this year so he is one option for the starting role on Tuesday. Ranking third in the Atlantic-10 with a team ERA of 3.61, the pitching staff for St. Joseph's makes up for an offense that ranks near the bottom in numerous categories across all of Division I.
Double the Fun
Zebrack's 16 doubles have already put him in a tie for sixth place on Penn's single-season list, knotted up with Will Davis in 2011 and William Gordon in 2010. The all-time mark of 22 from Tom Grandieri in 2010 is within reach as the junior outfielder has at least nine remaining games in the regular season. With a slugging percentage of .766, Zebrack is also making a push at the all-time mark in that category as well, which is currently a tie at .783 between Chris May (2001) and Tom Olszak (1979).
Derek Vigoa continues to climb the charts in his final go-round with the Red and Blue, now moving into a tie for fourth place all-time with 179 hits, equaling the total of William Gordon from 2007-10. With nine games to play, Vigoa would need 16 hits to climb to second place ahead of Nick Italiano's 194 from 2000-03. Dan Williams holds the all-time Penn hits mark with 204 from 2008-11. If Vigoa plays in every game the rest of the way, he'll also move into second place all-time behind Williams for games played in a Quaker uniform.
Trailing Cornell by four games in the Lou Gehrig Division, Penn welcomes in the Big Red for a four-game set this weekend with doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 12 p.m. The Phillie Phanatic will make an appearance at Meiklejohn Stadium on Sunday from 12-2 and children 12 and under receive free hot dogs and soda. Members of the Quakers will be available to sign autographs after the game as well.