PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers conclude their season when they face off against Columbia in a home and home series, beginning with a doubleheader Friday at noon in New York and concluding with a pair of games Saturday at noon at Meiklejohn Stadium.
Penn saw its chances at a division title take a serious blow over the weekend as they lost three of four games to fall to 17-19 overall and 8-8 in league play. The losses, combined with three victories for Princeton over Columbia, leaves the team four games back with four games to play. Columbia's three defeats to the Tigers kept them in third place with a 7-9 league record and 17-21 mark overall.
Last Time Out
The Red and Blue split its first two games on Sunday, with Cornell taking the first game 4-2 by getting four earned runs off starter Vince Voiro. In the second game senior Paul Cusick was dynamic once again, allowing just four singles in a nine-inning complete-game performance. He also matched a career high with 12 strikeouts and gave up just a pair of unearned runs as Penn came away with the 10-2 victory. On Monday the Quakers were shut out for the first time this season in a 3-0 loss and then went down 13-4 in the second game as well.
Following the Red and Blue
Penn fans can follow the action on Friday by following live stats and listening to Columbia's student radio station. On Saturday, live stats will be available by clicking here.
Scouting the Quakers
Penn currently has three players who are batting over .300 overall and five who are hitting better than .300 in league play. Jeremy Maas (.369), Greg Zebrack (.323) and Derek Vigoa (.308) lead the team in hitting as the Red and Blue are second in the league with a .288 collective batting average. Maas has a team-high 52 hits and is second on the team with 28 runs. Zebrack, meanwhile, has a team-high 30 runs and 41 hits to go with nine doubles, three triples, five home runs and a team-high 25 RBI. He also leads the team with a .449 on-base percentage and has nine steals on the year. Senior Will Davis is just under .300 at .297, but leads the team with 15 doubles and also has five home runs and 28 runs.
On the Mound
The Quakers will most likely keep the same starting four from the past four weekends. Leading the team is senior ace Paul Cusick. The righty is 5-2 with a 2.04 ERA on the season, but has been even better in league play allowing just two earned runs in four starts and 31.0 innings for a paltry 0.58 ERA. He also has 42 strikeouts, 12 walks and opponents are hitting .187 against him over that span. Junior Vince Voiro has had his ups and downs this season. He struggled in his last start, giving up four earned runs in a loss to Cornell, however for the season he is 3-5 with a 3.67 ERA. He has shown great control, walking just 19 batters in 54.0 innings while striking out a career-high 54. Junior Chris McNulty is one of three pitchers with at least eight starts and is 1-4 on the season with a 6.70 ERA and has 23 strikeouts. Penn's final starter, sophomore John Beasley has been solid for the team in each of his last three starts and is ranked ninth in league play with a 2.38 ERA, despite his 0-1 record. The righty is also holding opponents to a .232 batting average and has 14 strikeouts to six walks.
Scouting the Lions
Hitting: Columbia is batting .274 as a team this season, but has seen that number drop to .257 in Ivy League play. The team is anchored by the duo of Dario Pizzano and Nick Cox. Pizzano is batting a team-high .364 average and also leads the team in slugging (.614), on-base percentage (.442), hits (48), doubles (13), home runs (6) and RBI (31). Cox is right behind him, batting .353 with 47 hits. He has also scored a team-best 32 runs and has 11 doubles, two home runs and has shown some speed with 17 steals in 18 attempts.
Pitching: The Lions have a team ERA of 3.80 this season, tops in the Ivy League. They also have 210 strikeouts to 123 walks. Columbia has four starters who have made at least six starts this year. Stefan Olson has been the team's best starter in Ivy League play this year, going 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA with 16 strikeouts in four starts. Overall he has a 2.14 ERA in eight appearances and 42.0 innings. Dan Bracey is a team-best 4-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 46.0 innings this year and has 27 strikeouts to just 10 walks. The team's other two starters, Pat Lowery and Geoff Whitaker have combined to go 4-10 this year and have ERA's of 4.40 and 4.44 respectively. Lowery has 36 strikeouts in 45.0 innings but has walked 28, while Whitaker has shown great control with 39 strikeouts and just nine walks.
Entering the final weekend of Ivy League play, the Quakers have a number of players who are among the league leaders. Penn has three hitters in the top six in hitting, as Derek Vigoa and Will Davis are tied for fifth with a .362 average. Sophomore Greg Zebrack is sixth in league play with a .356 average. Zebrack also leads the league in home runs (5), RBI (17), total bases (44) and slugging percentage (.746), and is also in the top three in triples (2), on-base percentage (.465) runs (16) and hits (21). On the mound, Paul Cusick is tied for the league lead with a 3-0 record and leads all Ivies with a 0.58 ERA and 42 strikeouts. He is also second in innings pitched (31.0) and third in opponents batting average (.187). Freshman Cody Thomson leads the league with seven relief appearances , collecting a 2-3 record with one save, while Alex Ott is tied for second with six appearances.
Wheelin' and Dealin'
Senior Paul Cusick has had one of the best pitching seasons in recent memory this year. He is 5-2 with a team-best 2.04 ERA and has 74 strikeouts in just 61.2 innings. His 74 strikeouts are the seventh highest single-season total in school history and the most since Craig Connolly had 80 in 1990. His 194 strikeouts also put him within reach of becoming the fourth pitcher in school history with 200 strikeouts.
Senior Adrian Lorenzo is looking to become the fifth active Quaker with 100 hits as he has 98 entering the weekend. Additionally he has 19 career stolen bases, the most for a Penn player since Alex Nwaka finished his career with 22 in 2008. The left fielder has also shown the ability to get around the base paths, as his seven triples are the most for Penn player since 2003.
Senior Will Davis has five home runs this season to bring his career total to an impressive 24. The 24 dingers are second all-time in Penn history, trailing only Tom Olszak's 26. He is also one of five players in school history with 100 hits, 20 home runs and 20 doubles.
Un Poco Maas
Senior Jeremy Maas has flashed an impressive mix of power and speed over his four years at Penn. The right fielder has 34 career doubles, good for seventh in school history. Maas has also scored 99 runs and needs one more to become the 17th player with 100 runs. He also has 18 career steals, with a team-best 17 over the past two seasons.
Mr. Plate Discipline
Senior Mike Mariano has played in 90 games and has over 200 at bats in his career. During his career he has walked 40 times, third among active Quakers, and owns the highest on-base percentage among current Penn players. His .416 on-base percentage is also the highest for a Red and Blue hitter since Nate Moffie finished his career with a .420 on-base percentage in 2005.
With his four hits over the weekend senior Dan Williams broke Penn's all-time hit record. He now has 197, and needs just three more to become the 17th player in Ivy League history with 200 career hits. Williams is also second all-time with 132 runs scored and is fourth in doubles (39) and eighth in RBI (106). Additionally, Williams has played in every single possible game of his career to run his streak of consecutive games played to 157.