PHILADELPHIA - Penn announced its 2008 baseball schedule on Tuesday. The Quakers enter the 2008 campaign hoping to build off their best season since 2003. The Quakers won 20 games in 07, thier most since that 2003 season. The Red and Blue were 12-9 in Ivy League play and captured their first outright Gehrig Division title in 12 years. Penn was defeated by Brown two games to none in the Ivy Leage Championship Series.
The Quakers start the season off by hosting West Chester University (Feb. 29) at Meiklejohn Stadium.
After hosting the Golden Rams, the Red and Blue will pack their bags for their annual Spring Training Trip. The Quakers will head to Boca Raton, Fla. for eight games 3/8-3/15. Joining Penn in the Sunshine State will be Lehigh (Mar. 8), Air Force (Mar. 9), Maine (Mar. 9), Connecticut (Mar. 10), Pittsburgh (Mar. 13), Penn State (Mar. 14), Dominican (Mar. 15) and NJIT (Mar. 15).
W. Joseph Blood Head Coach of Baseball John Cole anticpates a challenging trip for the Quakers.
“I like how competitive our spring trip schedule is,” Cole said. “We are playing teams from two of the better conferences in the Northeast in the Big East and Big Ten. These games will be a good early-season barometer of where we are as a team.”
Upon returning from Florida, Penn opens Big 5 play. The Quakers are hoping for a repeat of the 2007 season which saw Penn named Big 5 Team of the Year. Penn travels to Ambler, Pa. on March 19 to take on Temple. Other Big 5 games include home games against Saint Joseph’s (Apr. 2) and La Salle (Apr. 16) as well as a trip down the Main Line to play Villanova (Apr. 8).
“Big 5 games are always fun,” Cole said. “These are really close rivalries and can be just as intense as league games for the schools involved.”
The remainder of Penn’s non-conference slate includes a pair of double-headers at Mount St. Mary’s (Mar. 21 and Mar. 22). In addition, Penn will once again be a part of the Liberty Bell Classic. Penn opens play at Lafayette (Mar. 25). The Quakers will host either Saint Joseph’s or Delaware on April 1 at Meiklejohn Stadium, and will conclude play on April 15 against an opponent to be determined. Lehigh makes the trip from Easton, Pa. to Philly on April 23 for two games to complete the season series the two team started in Florida.
Penn begins its defense of the Gehrig Division title on March 29 when the Quakers welcome Yale to West Philadelphia for a pair of games. The following day, the Red and Blue look to avenge thier season-ending playoff exit at the hands of Brown when the two teams play a double-header at Meiklejohn Stadium.
Penn makes its northern-most journey of the season when it heads to New England for a pair of double-headers against Dartmouth (Apr. 5) and Harvard (Apr. 6).
Gehrig Division play starts when Penn hosts Cornell (Apr. 12-13) for four games. The following weekend, Penn travels to Princeton (Apr.19-20) for two more double-headers.
The Quakers complete the regular season with a home-and-home series with Columbia (Apr. 26-27). The two teams will meet in the Big Apple for two games on the 26th and reconvene the next day at Meiklejohn Stadium for two more games to round out the season.
“The Ivy League is such a close league,” Cole said. “It will take a great deal of effort and execution to advance as far as we did last year. But, that is our goal. We want to get back to that Championship Series That is what we are preparing for.”