Baseball Begins 2015 in Florida at Stetson

PHILADELPHIA – After finishing his first season with a 24-17 overall record, and a 15-5 Ivy League mark, second-year Head Coach John Yurkow is looking for the University of Pennsylvania baseball team to take the next step in 2015.

Penn begins the year heading to Florida to face Stetson in a three-game series, before traveling to Virginia over spring break to face Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth (VCU), and Richmond.

“The team is extremely excited to get to better weather and play a quality opponent in Stetson, who will be a good challenge for us out of the gate,” said Yurkow. “Our trip to Florida, and trip to Virginia, will give us a good indication of how we stack up early on.”

The trip to Virginia will find the Quakers playing two teams that finished with over 30 wins in 2014, and a NCAA regional team.

“Old Dominion won 36 games and was a NCAA regional team last year, and VCU won 37 games, before losing in their conference championship game. Round that out with an experienced Richmond club and it should make for a great week of baseball for us,” said Yurkow of the spring break trip.

Narrowly missing out on the Ivy League Championship series in 2014, the Quakers return six individuals named All-Ivy a season ago – seniors Austin Bossart, Connor Cuff, Ronnie Glenn, and Jeff McGarry, junior Ryan Mincher, and sophomore Jake Cousins.

Ivy play begins at home in late March, with a doubleheader against Harvard and Dartmouth in the opening weekend. The Quakers will travel north to face Yale and Brown in doubleheaders, followed by a four-game series with Cornell to begin Rolfe Division play. Penn will host Princeton for four games, before rounding out the regular season and Ivy League play with the traditional home-and-home doubleheaders with Columbia. The Ivy League Baseball Championship series is scheduled to take place May 2-3.

Yurkow is confident in his players heading into the spring, “Our guys have done a great job preparing for the year. Moving into the regular season, and then league play, our goal is to win the Ivy League championship.”

The Quakers begin their season this weekend in Deland, Fla. against Stetson. The three-game series kicks off Friday at 6:30 p.m., with a gameSaturday at 4 p.m., and the finale Sunday at 1 p.m.Fans can catch all the action live on Hatter Vision ($) or stay up to date on Twitter – @PennBaseball.

NOTES

PENN BASEBALL IN 2014: Finishing the season with a 24-17 overall record and going 15-5 in the Ivy League, Penn completed one of its most successful season in recent memory, and collected the seventh most victories in program history. The 15 Ivy victories were the most for Penn since the 1989 season, when the Red and Blue went 15-3 on their way to an Ivy League championship. Nine individuals were named All-Ivy players at the end of the 2014 season, while the Quakers earned four Ivy League Player of the Weeks awards. Penn placed two individuals on the Philadelphia All-Big 5 team, and also racked up six Big 5 Player or Pitcher of the Weeks honors throughout the course of the spring. At one point in the season, the Quakers won 13 of 15 games includingan 11-game winning streak, in which they were named CollegeBaseballInsider.com’s National Team of the Week.

HEAD COACH JOHN YURKOW: Entering his second season at the helm as the W. Joseph Blood Head Coach of Baseball for Penn, the team is looking to take the next step in 2015 and play for the Ivy League championship. In 2014, the Quakers finished with a 24-17 overall record, the seventh most wins in program history, while going 15-5 in the Ivy League, the most Ivy wins for the Red and Blue since 1989. Penn fell in a one-game playoff to Columbia for the Gehrig Division last season. Of the loss Yurkow said, “I would hope our guys look at last year as a learning experience. Our team was extremely disappointed. I thought we had the best team in the league, but the best team doesn’t always win.” Before becoming head coach, Yurkow had spent the last seven seasons as the Quakers’ top assistant coach, working with the hitters and infielders.

QUAKERS COACHING STAFF: Yurkow’s coaching staff remains the same from 2014 to 2015 with the exception of the volunteer assistant coach position. Mike Santello is in his fourth season at Penn working with the hitters and catchers, along with serving as the recruiting coordinator for the Quakers. Josh Schwartz is in his second season serving as the pitching coach after guiding Penn to a 3.60 earned run average in 2014, the lowest mark in head coach John Yurkow's association with the program. Penn pitchers also led the Ivy League in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.21) and were second in the league in strikeouts per nine innings (7.3) in 2014. New to the staff this year is Mark Royer, who works with the hitters and outfielders. Royer played collegiately at Eastern University where he was a three-year starter and captain for the Eagles, graduating in 2013. He replaced volunteer assistant coach Andre Butler, who was hired as assistant coach at DeSales University in Pennsylvania.

EXPERIENCED SENIORS: Penn has 10 seniors on the roster in 2015. Those seniors have combined to make 670 appearances in their careers to this point. Three of those seniors – Austin Bossart, Jeff McGarry, and Mitch Montaldo played in all 41 games in 2014, while pitchers Connor Cuff, Dan Gautieri, and Ronnie Glenn made 27 of 41 starts on the mound for the Quakers last season. Classmates Connor Betbeze, Paul Cotler, Matt McKinnon, and Stephen Silvestri are also key contributors to Penn’s success a season ago.

NEW FACES FOR PENN: The Quakers have 10 newcomers on the roster this season. The incoming come to Penn from near and far, representing seven different states – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Texas and Virginia. Those players are: Brendan Broviak, Jordan Della Valle, Billy Lescher, Jakob Levison, Andrew Murnane, Jesse Roth, Ryan Schroth, Bradley Wilpon, and John White. For more on the Penn newcomers, please click here.

INSIDE LOOK…PITCHING: In 2014, the Penn pitching staff recorded 176 strikeouts, the most all-time in a single season in program history. Penn comes into the 2015 season with three experienced starters to head the rotation – senior left-hander Ronnie Glenn (2014: 5-2, 3.46 ERA, 54.2 IP, 48 K), senior right-hander Connor Cuff (2014: 5-3, 1.77 ERA, 66.0 IP, 49 K), and sophomore right-hander Jake Cousins (2014: 4-0, 1.59 ERA, 34.0 IP, 21 K). Each of member of the starting trio earned All-Ivy honors a year ago. Other options in the rotation will be converted left-handed closer, sophomore Mike Reitcheck (2014: 0-2, 4.22 ERA, 10.2 IP, 16 K, 5 SV), and senior right-hander Dan Gautieri (2014: 2-6, 4.97 ERA, 50.2 IP, 53 K). In relief, the Quakers will be led by senior left-hander Stephen Silvestri (2014: 11.0 IP, 8 K), junior right-hander Mitch Holtz (2014: 10.1 IP, 8 K), and sophomore right-hander’s Mitchell Hammonds (2014: 14.1 IP, 11 K) and Andrew Burnick (2014: 4.0 IP, 3 K). Two freshman, Russell Rhoads and John White, could also see some time on the mound in relief for Penn.

INSIDE LOOK…CATCHING: The Quakers will rely on senior catcher Austin Bossart (2014: .297, 4 HR, 9 2B, 19 RBI) to handle the catching duties, as he has done all four years at Penn. Bossart was named First-team All-Ivy in 2014, and has been named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list twice in 2013 and 2014. Bossarthasstarted andplayed in all 120 games during his Penn career, either catching or at first base.Behind Bossart, will be sophomore Tim Graul, who saw action in 17 games, making seven starts in 2014. Graul collected seven RBI, with a home run and a double, in his freshman season.

INSIDE LOOK…INFIELD: An experience infield returns for Penn, with senior Mitch Montaldo (2014: .211, 5 HR, 7 2B, 16 RBI) at third base, junior Ryan Mincher (2014: .271, 4 HR, 10 2B, 24 RBI) at shortstop, and senior Jeff McGarry (2014: .316, 4 HR, 12 2B, 30 RBI) at first base. Newcomer, freshman Ryan Schroth will join Mincher up the middle, playing second base. McGarry and Mincher were both All-Ivy players a season ago, while Montaldo looks to carry his hot-hitting from the fall into the spring. Depth for the infield will come from senior Matt McKinnon (2014: .279, 1 HR, 2 2B, 14 RBI) at first base, when he is not splitting time in the designated hitter role. Also, freshman John White could see some time in the infield for the Quakers.

INSIDE LOOK…OUTFIELD: A cast of six players will see the majority of time in the outfield for Penn. In centerfield senior Connor Betbeze (.214, 1 HR, 1 2B, 8 RBI) and junior Gary Tesch (2014: .246, 1 HR, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 5 SB) will captain the defense while the corner positions will be filled with junior Matt Greskoff (2014: .292, 4 2B, 14 RBI), junior Jonah Campbell (2014: Injured – did not play), and freshman Jakob Levison. Senior Paul Cotler (2014: .286, 2 2B, 2 RBI) could also see time in the outfield in addition to his role as a designated hitter.

WORKING WITH VS. CANCER FOUNDATION & CHOP: The Penn baseball team is in its second year of working with the Vs. Cancer Foundation, and helping raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer research. The cause hits close to home with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia right next door to the Penn campus. Members of the team visited CHOP this fall, and are in the process of setting up another visit for later this spring. The team raised nearly $10,000 last season for the foundation, setting the same goal this year. At this point in the fundraising campaign, they've achieved close to half their goal. For more information, or if you would like to make a contribution, please click here.

SCOUTING STETSON: Heading into the weekend series with Penn, the Hatters have begun the season with a 5-4 record. Stetson fell in two of three games in its opening series with La Salle, before defeating Florida International in a midweek game. The Hatters then split a four-game series with Central Michigan, before defeating Bethune-Cookman. Stetson is led on offense by senior Josh Powers (.432, 1 HR, 5 2B, 12 RBI) and redshirt sophomore Vance Vizcaino (.371, 2 2B, 10 RBI). On the mound freshman Brooks Wilson is 3-0 with 10 strikeouts, while sophomore Walker Sheller is 1-2 with 12 strikeouts in five appearances.

THE SERIES WITH STETSON:Penn and Stetson last met in 2012, a 14-1 defeat for Penn. The 19th-ranked Hatters totaled 11 hits and 10 RBI versus the Quakers. Current seniors Austin Bossart, Ronnie Glenn, Mitch Montaldo, and Stephen Silvestri made their collegiate debuts in the contest.

Download: BB - Penn at Stetson Notes.pdf