Philadelphia - Eight runs on 10 hits is good enough to beat many ball clubs but the Quakers fell short of a win as La Salle came into Murphy Field and posted a 9-8 victory over the Red and Blue on Wednesday afternoon. Kyle Armeny and Matt Horn each went deep. Armeny led the Penn offense with three hits, three RBI and one run scored.
Penn (8-14) spotted the Explorers a 5-1 lead after just two innings as La Salle (10-14) rattled off four runs in the top of the second only two have the Red and Blue answer with four of their own in the bottom of the third. Bryan Graves put Penn on the board with a double down the left field line to score Nat Moffie, who reached on a fielder's choice, from first. Graves duplicated his efforts two innings later with a double down the left field line again, this time to score Jarron Smith who had reached on a four-pitch walk. Graves finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored. Spencer Witte earned a base on balls to set the stage for Armeny. The rookie rocked an 0-1 pitch to right field to tie the score at five. It was the third home run of the season for Armeny, tying him with Moffie and Sean Abate for the team lead.
Two doubles, a single and a walk accounted for La Salle's offense in the first two innings as Matt Dunaway brought in the first of his two runs with a two-bagger in the second. Dunaway finished 2-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBI. After Penn tied the score in the third, the Explorers strung together four-straight innings with a run. The Quakers battled back with two in the sixth on a fielder's choice from Evan Sobel. Sobel later scored from second base when James Dunning reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, tying the score at seven.
La Salle's last two runs scored on a bases loaded walk and a passed ball but Penn did want any team wants to do when down by more than one run heading into the bottom of the ninth - bring the winning run to the plate. Horn pinch hit for Alex Nwaka and calmly yanked a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for his second home run of the season. The shot pulled Penn to within one, 10-9. Alex Blagojevich slapped one of his two singles to center field with one out to bring up Moffie, representing the winning run. It would not be a third walk-off win for the Quakers as the game ended on a strike out/throw out double play.
La Salle's Dennis Burge (2-2) threw four innings of relief, giving up one earned run on four hits to earn his second victory of the season. Matt Kirsch recorded the final two outs of the game with one of his seven pitches to capture his first save of the season. Penn's Joe Thornton (0-2) suffered the loss, going 1.2 innings in relief. The Quakers saw junior Joe Wilamowski work a solid four innings, giving up just one earned run and fanning three batters. It was the first time Wilamowski has been on the mound in the Red and Blue since 2003. Abate also worked one and one-third innings in relief, striking out a pair of Explorers.
Penn is back to Ivy grind this weekend as the Quakers take a road trip to Brown and Yale on April 9-10. Both dates are doubleheaders, beginning at noon.
Written by Mat Kanan, associate director of athletic communications