Baseball Begins Ivy Play

PHILADELPHIA – The end is the beginning for Penn baseball as the end of March brings with it the beginning of Ivy League play. The Quakers host a pair of doubleheaders this weekend, with Yale coming to town on Saturday (noon) and Brown on Sunday (noon).

The twin-bill with the Bears on Sunday is a rematch of the 2007 Ivy League Championship Series that saw Brown sweep Penn, two games to none, for the Ivy crown.

Senior captain Kyle Armeny feels that revenge isn’t a factor going into Sunday’s games, but redemption might be.

“I know that last year’s losses have stuck with us a bit,” he said. “We aren’t really looking for revenge, but more to prove we are better than the team that got blown out, 20-6, in game two.”

The Bears have been road warriors over the last week, playing seven games in six days on a trip that started in Asheville, N.C. and moved through Virginia before games in New York City on Saturday and in Philadelphia on Sunday. In all, Brown has played 14 games so far in 2008 – all on the road – and is 6-8. The signature win on Brown’s schedule is an 11-2 win over Florida in Gainesville March 8th.

Freshman catcher Matt Colantonio leads Brown in hitting with a .478 batting average and was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week last week. Over the last seven games, he is batting .577 with seven RBIs and six runs scored.

Brown’s schedule starters on Sunday are Alex Silverman and Anthony Vita. Silverman is 2-0 over his three starts with a 7.00 ERA. The start on Sunday will be the first of the season for Vita, but he has made six appearances out of the bullpen. His record stands at 1-1 with a 1.46 ERA. Opponents are hitting .191 against him.

On Saturday, Penn hosts Yale for a pair of games. Last season, Penn swept the Bulldogs with wins by scores of 12-6 (eight innings) and 9-1 in New Haven.

Yale is off to a 6-14 start, including a 5-3 win over #5 South Carolina. Like Brown, Yale has yet to play a home game, while Penn has had six already.

Yale’s lineup features Ryan Lavarnaway, who is hitting .397 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs. Last season, Lavarnaway led the NCAA in batting average at .467 as well as slugging at .873.

Yale will start Brian Irving and Alex Christ on Saturday. Irving has started four games and is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA. He leads the team in strikeouts with 29. Christ has appeared in five games and started three. His record stands at 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA.

This weekend will feature live video and audio streaming of all four games via www.PennAthletics.com. For more information about the Penn Sports Network and the coverage it provides, please click here. In addition, live stats of each game will be available online here.