Philadelphia, Pa. - Extra inning heroics and a stellar pitching performance aided Penn baseball to a sweep of Hartford, 5-4 and 8-3, in a double-header played at Murphy Field on Saturday. Nate Moffie's frozen rope single in the bottom of the ninth won it for the Quakers in game one while Brian Cirri's 5.2 innings of work in game two shut down the Hawks.
After James Dunning and Alex Blagojevich had each reached on errors, J.T. Hutchinson, who was pinch-running for Dunning, scored from third base on a wild pitch to tie the game at four in the bottom of the ninth inning of game one. Blagojevich advanced to third base on the errant pitch. After Kyle Armeny popped out to third base, the stage was set for Moffie. He laced a hard hit single to center field, scoring Blagojevich easily to end the game and give Penn (2-9) its first win of the season.
Prior to Penn's half of the ninth, Hartford (0-2) had taken the lead, 4-3, on a Steve Moyer single, scoring Erik Price who had reached on a walk. Moyer led the Hawks with a pair of hits in four at bats during the first game. Hartford tied the score in the top of the seventh when Michael Cicchetti grounded out to shortstop Evan Sobel, scoring Bill Perry who had also reached on a walk.
Penn trailed 2-0 heading into its half of the fourth inning. Sean Abate drew a walk and Bryan Graves recorded one of his three hits on the day. Jarron Smith, pinch-hitting for Andrew Bechta, earned first base after being hit by a pitch. Blagojevich, with the chance to put the Red and Blue on the board, delivered with a bases clearing double to left center field. It was the senior's fourth double of the year and 13th, 14th and 15th RBI.
Josh Appell pitched well for the Quakers, going 5.2 innings and striking out six Hawks. Bill Kirk (1-1) picked up his first win of the season, going three innings in relief.
Game two was an awakening for the Penn offense as the Quakers scored four runs in the second and third innings, finishing the game with seven hits, one of which was a two-RBI double off the bat of Graves. The senior left fielder started the scoring spurt by driving in Horn and Abate. Graves finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI. Spencer Witte joined the fun by driving the first of three runs on a single in the second to score Graves. Blagojevich drove in Witte on a sacrifice fly to give Penn a 4-0 lead early in game two. It was more of the same in the third as Graves singled with the bases loaded to push the lead to 5-0, Witte ripped a two-RBI single to left field and Hutchinson sacrificed to bring home the Quakers' fourth run of the inning, chasing Hartford's starting pitcher, Adam Flaherty, who gave up eight runs on six hits.
Brian Cirri (1-2) threw a gem, scattering six hits and striking out four Hawks batters. Three runs scored during Cirri's 5.2 innings on the hill, all of which were unearned.
Penn hosts Hartford again on Sunday at Murphy Field. The twin bill begins at noon.
Written by Mat Kanan, associate director of athletic communications