2008 Baseball Spring Blog - 3/9/09 - Quakers Drop Close One to Air Force, 9-8

BOCA RATON - 6:27 - Three strikeouts from Matt Toffaletti in the ninth inning seal an 11-3 win for the Quakers. Todd Roth went seven innings, striking out nine while allowing three runs. Steve Gable went 4-for-5 and scored two runs. Kyler Armeny had three hits. Full recaps of both game will be available when we return to the hotel.

2:24 p.m. - The Quakers entered the top of the eighth inning trailing Air Force, 9-2. Penn plated two runs in the eights to close the gap. After Anthony Aruffo shutdown the Falcons in the bottom of the eighth, Penn came to bat in the last inning hungry to tie the game. Steve Gable led off the inning with a single to center. William Gordon followed with a double down the left field line. Kyle Armeny drove in Gable with a sacrafice fly to center. Matt Toffaletti re-ignited the rally with a single to left. Tom Grandieri came up with Penn's fourth hit of the inning - a single to left that scored Gordon. Freshman Mike Mariano pinch hit for Adrian Lorenzo, and in his first collegiate at-bat, Mariano singled to left to score Toffaletti. With two outs, Will Davis singled to right to score Grandieri. With runners on the corners and two outs, Reid Terry ground out to third to end the game.

The team is having lunch right now before taking the field against Maine at 3:15 p.m. The Black Bears are 5-6 so far in 2008, including a 3-1 loss in ten innings to the Air Force team that Penn just played.

Through six innings, Air Force has a 5-2 lead. Matt Alexander has a homerun and two doubles to lead the Falcons. Air Force has been patient scoring one run in each inning starting with the second.

The Quakers scored their first run of the game when Matt Toffaletti drove in William Gordon with a single in the third inning. Penn manufactured its second run of the game when Steve Gable was hit by a pitch. A walk to Gordon put two on for Penn. Two groundouts allowed Gable to cross the plate.

Jeremy Maas went 4.2 innings in his first collegiate start. He gave up five hits and four runs. He walked two and struckout six. Robbie Seymour is now in to pitch for Penn.

10:44 a.m. - Here are the starting lineups. Penn is the visiting team and will be batting first.

Thomas – CF Gable – 2B Gordon – 3B Armeny – 1B Toffaletti – DH Grandieri – RF Nwaka – LF Williams – SS Cellucci – C

SP – Maas

Air Force

Carter – 2B Randhawa – SS Derbigny – RF Gentry – DH Alexander 1B Ausburn – 3b Mayo – C Walker – LF Allen – CF

SP – Miller

9:39 a.m. - The Quakers are on the field taking batting practice before their game with Air Force this morning. There is quite a lot going on right now. Assistant coach Yurkow is throwing BP to hitters at home plate. They are focusing on working the ball the other way and advancing runners. At the same time, assistant coach Cross has another group of guys in the cage working on their swing. While all that is going on, a few members of the pitching staff are hitting fungoes to the first and third basemen - giving them extra reps. The pitchers who threw in yesterday's game are getting some running in and head coach John Cole is in the outfield working with those players on positioning and tracking the ball off the bat. There is always something to work on.

The wind that was omnipresent at the field the last two days appears to have died down and we should be treated to baseball without too much weather-induced adjustments today. Penn will meet the Falcons of the Air Force Academy in the first game of the day.The Falcons are 4-7on the season and are 2-2 so far in Florida. Air Force also split a pair of games at Mississippi State. Matt Alexander leads the way offensively for the Falcons. He is batting .359 over the 11 games so far this season. He has gone deep twice and has drove in 13 runs. Nathan Carter leads the team in runs scored with 12 and has stolen seven bases. While I don't have the probable starter for Air Force just yet, a quick look at their stats reveals that their bullpen of the Falcons is one of their strong suits. All four wins have been picked up by a reliever, and the top guy out of the 'pen is Michael Ruvolo. He is 2-1 in 2008 with a 2.08 ERA and seven strikeouts.

Check back throughout the day for updates including the starting lineups and any interesting news that comes up. Live stats of today's game can be found at www.pennathletics.com after the game begins.