PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – On a warm, but rainy afternoon Tuesday at Villanova, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team was defeated, 9-3, by the Wildcats in a semifinal game of the Liberty Bell Classic.
Penn (12-10) and Villanova’s (12-15) matchup began under sunny skies that turned gray midway through the contest, unleashing a steady rainfall for the last three innings before the game was called in the eighth inning.
The Quakers led 2-1 after five and a half innings, before the Wildcats pushed across seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Senior first baseman Matt McKinnon went 4-for-4 in the game, with a triple and a double, driving in one run.
Penn scored on a RBI double by senior catcher Austin Bossart in the top of the third inning, before McKinnon drove in junior infielder Ryan Mincher in the top of the sixth for the Quakers second run.
In the eighth, Penn tallied its third run of the day after a leadoff triple by McKinnon. Pinch-runner freshman Brendan Broviak scored on a sacrifice fly RBI by senior Connor Betbeze.
After beginning the game throwing well, allowing just one run through five innings, senior right-handed pitcher Dan Gautieri (1-2) walked the leadoff batter in the sixth inning. A sacrifice bunt followed, where Gautieri was unable to field the ball cleanly, allowing the batter to reach. Gautieri was lifted from the game, finishing with three strikeouts, and responsible for three runs after those runners would score later in the inning.
After Gautieri’s exit, the Quaker bullpen would struggle, with junior Mitch Holtz and senior Stephen Silvestri coming on without being able to record an out. Holtz allowed one run, while Silvestri allowed four. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Andrew Burnick worked two innings in relief, giving up one run on three hits, while striking out two batters.
Sophomore right-hander Nick Pedalino came on to throw the eighth inning and threw one pitch, when the game was halted due to rain and field conditions.
Up next, Penn will travel to Ithaca, N.Y. to face Cornell in a four-game series in Ivy League Gehrig Division action. The Quakers and Big Red will play a doubleheader on Saturday and Sunday, with both days beginning at 12 p.m.