Baseball Bashes Its Way to Saturday Split

Penn-William & Mary (Game 1)

Penn- William & Mary (Game 2)

The University of Pennsylvania baseball team (1-2) looked like two different squads on Saturday. The first came out sluggish on a cold Virginia afternoon and were summarily disposed of by an opportune William & Mary (6-4) team in the day's first contest, 8-2. The second was sharp and aggressive, taking the game to the Tribe en route to its first win of the 2013 season, 10-4.

William & Mary 8, Penn 2 (Game One)
The Quakers had little success in the day's first game against the Tribe's staff ace, John Farrell. Farrell threw a complete game six-hitter, while Connor Cuff took the loss for Penn after giving up five earned runs in 3.2 innings of work.

William & Mary grabbed the early edge in the contest with three runs in the bottom of the first inning, though the damage could have been worse. The first two batters for the Tribe reached, and were on second and third with no outs when Ryan Lindemuth hit a grounder to Rick Brebner at third. The play caught lead-off man Kevin Nutter leading too far off the bag at third and he was forced into a rundown between Brebner and catcher Austin Bossart. He was eventually tagged out trying to get back to third, and Ryan Brown - the runner who had been at second base - was also out trying to advance. Though that play momentarily slowed the Tribe attack, they came right back with four consecutive singles to plate three before Penn could escape the frame.

The only time when the Red and Blue seemed to have figured out Farrell came in the third inning. Bossart led off the inning by hustling down the line to beat out a grounder to third base. Connor Betbeze then singled in his first Penn at-bat, moving Bossart over to third. A sacrifice bunt from Ryan Mincher made it a 3-1 game with one away. With two down, Mike Vilardo doubled to left field, bringing Betbeze in to score and cutting the William & Mary lead down to one, 3-2.

That proved to be all that the Quakers would muster in the first game. The Tribe cobbled together a pair of runs in the bottom half of the third, and then drove Cuff out of the game in the bottom of the fourth after the sophomore ran into some more difficulty due to a pair of errors from the defense. A two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth closed out the scoring for William & Mary in the 8-2 victory.

Penn 10, William & Mary 4 (Game Two)
The break between games seemed to make all the difference for Penn, as a refocused and reenergized team took the fight to William & Mary in the second half of the doubleheader. Only Betbeze managed a multi-hit game for the Quakers in the opener, but seven members of the Red and Blue had at least two hits in the second game, with a 4-for-5 showing from Ryan Deitrich leading the way. Dan Gautieri earned the win on the bump for the Quakers, going 5.2 innings and giving up four runs (only two of them earned), before giving way to the bullpen. Ronnie Glenn was lights out in the late stages, throwing 2.2 near-perfect innings while striking out three.

Penn struck quickly, pushing a run across in the top of the first inning after Deitrich drew a two-out walk. Bossart - moved into the clean-up spot in between games - doubled to the deepest part of center field to bring the senior captain around to score for a 1-0 edge. The third inning began with a Brebner double, and he was plated by consecutive groundouts from Deitrich and Bossart to make it 2-0.

The most trouble Gautieri encountered came in the bottom of the third. The Tribe opened with consecutive base hits, the second of which was misplayed in the outfield, moving each runner up 90 feet. Derek Lowe followed with a grounder that would have scored one run, but instead scored two after a throwing error from Vilardo. A single later in the inning gave William & Mary a momentary 3-2 advantage.

The Quakers wasted no time in coming back. Mitch Montaldo led off with a single and Penn had runners on the corners with one away. Showing the aggressive mindset missing earlier in the day, a double steal took Gary Tesch to second while bringing Montaldo home to knot the score at 3-3. Vilardo followed with a RBI single, and with the bases loaded, Bossart again flew to deep center, this time for a sacrifice fly that made it 5-3.

William & Mary scored one run in the bottom of the sixth, but John Beasley induced a flyout to center field to end the threat with a 5-4 lead still intact. Penn added insurance with a run in both the seventh and eighth innings, before putting it away with a huge ninth.

Forcing their way deep into the Tribe bullpen, Vilardo brought the speedy Brandon Engelhardt around to score with a one-out double in the final frame. Brebner switched spots with Vilardo on the basepaths with a double of his own to make it 9-4, before a Deitrich triple put a cap on the win, extending to a 10-4 lead.

In addition to Deitrich's four hits, Vilardo, Montaldo and Engelhardt all had three hits apiece. Vilardo and Bossart tied for game-high honors with three RBI each.

Penn and William & Mary close out the four-game set tomorrow, with the teams getting together at 1 p.m. from Plumeri Park.

Download: Penn-W&M Game 2.pdf