PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers came up just short on Wednesday as they dug themselves an early hole before climbing back within one; however, it wasn't enough as La Salle held on for the 6-4 victory at Meiklejohn Stadium.
Penn spotted the Explorers a 5-0 advantage after only three innings but eventually made it 5-4 and had the tying run in scoring position on multiple occasions but couldn't get it across home plate. La Salle added an insurance run in the eighth and held on, 6-4.
Junior Chris McNulty was charged with the loss as he went 1.1 innings, giving up four runs, three earned, while striking out three batters. At the plate, senior Jeremy Maas went 3-for-3 with a walk and two RBI. Junior Derek Vigoa also played well, going 2-for-5 with a solo home run and making his first appearance at catcher this year.
In the first inning McNulty got the first two outs with ease, but three consecutive singles put a run on the board before a strikeout ended the inning. In the bottom of the frame Penn loaded the bases before a strikeout by Rick Brebner ended the scoring threat.
La Salle added to their lead in the second, scoring three times and chasing McNulty. Junior Patrick Brennan came on in relief to get the final two outs of the inning without allowing another run. After a 1-2-3 inning by Penn, the Explorers made it 5-0 in the top of the third with a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly.
The Quakers got on the board in the bottom of the third as Greg Zebrack led off the inning with a double to the wall in left. He scored on a one-out single by Maas to cut the deficit to 5-1. A pair of fly outs ended the threat and stranded Maas in scoring position.
An inning later Penn cut the lead even more as Vigoa blasted a solo homer over the fence in left in one out. Senior Adrian Lorenzo followed with a walk, stole second, and came around to score on a two-out double by Engelhardt to right. Maas made it a 5-4 ball game with another double, scoring Engelhardt. Spencer Branigan followed with a walk and Dan Williams was hit by a pitch to load the bases, however, a groundout still left the Red and Blue down one.
Brennan and sophomore John Beasley combined for scoreless relief over the next three innings as Penn put runners on third in the sixth and seventh but couldn't bring in them home. In the eighth, junior Vince Voiro entered and gave up a one-out home run to Joe Bennie, putting the Explorers in front, 6-4. He promptly struck out the final two batters of the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth La Salle brought in their closer, Pat Christensen, and he allowed just two hits over the final two innings to earn his sixth save of the season.
The Quakers fall to 8-10 on the year while La Salle improves to 14-10. Penn returns to action this Saturday, when they open Ivy League play with a doubleheader against Harvard, beginning at 12 p.m.