Penn vs. Lehigh Box Score and Play by Play
BOCA RATON After allowing four runs in the first five innings of Saturday’s game against Lehigh, the Penn pitching staff settled down and held the Mountain Hawks’ scoreless over the next seven innings before Lehigh plated three runs in the top of the 13th inning to secure a 7-4 win at the Santaluces Sports Complex.
The final frame started with Bill Goldman drawing a walk for Lehigh. He advanced to second when Will Davis couldn’t handle a delivery from Reid Terry which resulted in a passed ball. Joe Ercolano flied out to deep center field, allowing Goldman to tag and advance to third. The Hawks the put on the safety squeeze and infielder Brendan McGaheran came through, placing the bunt down the first base line. The Quakers had no chance at the plate and Lehigh took a 5-4 lead. McGaheran followed that with a stolen base. Andy Russell then drew a walk off Terry the 11th free pass issued by a Penn pitcher on the day. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Joe Bellini drove in Lehigh’s second run of the inning with the second safety squeeze of the inning. Geoff Campbell attempted a third-straight squeeze, but Penn was able to throw him out at first for the second out of the inning. The play was not without further damage to the Quakers, however, as Russell crossed the plate for the final run of the game.
After an overnight rainstorm delayed the start of the game from 10 a.m. until 11:35 a.m., heavy winds settled in the area and were a presence throughout the game. A line-drive down the right field line by Alex Nwaka in the bottom of the tenth seemed destined for a home run, but the wind got a hold of it and sliced it just foul.
The blustery conditions did not account for the high number of walks and errors on his team’s side of the box score, according to head coach John Cole.
“The wind may have been a factor once the ball was hit in the air, but we were having trouble with command of pitches and with fielding ground balls,” he said. “If you allow as many guys to reach base for free as we did today, it will be very difficult to win.”
Four of the seven runs scored by Lehigh were from runners who reached base via either walk or error. In fact, the Quakers only gave up one earned run. In addition to the final inning, the third was also one that saw Lehigh take advantage of Penn miscues.
With two outs, Russell reached on an error by shortstop Dan Williams. Starting pitcher Andy Console then proceeded to walk the next three batters and hit Dan Clauson to score two runs. Console also walked three straight in the fifth inning after retiring the first two batters. John D'Agostini came out of the bullpen after that and induced a ground out to second baseman Steve Gable to get out of the jam.
After Lehigh scored in the top of the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead, the Quakers rallied for three runs in the second inning when Lehigh had fielding issues of its own.
Austin Borden mishandled two grounders in a row to allow the first pair of Penn hitters to reach base. Williams drove a double down the left field line to score Tim May. Gable singled to left with one out to score two, giving Penn a 3-1 lead.
The game would not have reached extra innings if the Quakers didn’t stage a ninth-inning comeback. Maas reached on an error by Borden this time at first base. An error by Lehigh’s catcher allowed Williams to reach and advanced Maas all the way to third base. Davis pinch hit for Jeff Cellucci and hit into a fielder’s choice, with Williams forced out at second. The relay throw from second was up the line and pulled the first baseman off the line, allowing Maas to score the run that sent the game into extra innings.
Not to be overlooked in the loss is the middle relief from D’Agostini and Tom Grandieri. Both were making their first appearances for Penn D’Agostini is a senior who spent his first years at Penn on the football team as a quarterback and Grandieri is a sophomore transfer from Villanova. The two combined to shut Lehigh down for six and a third innings not allowing a hit while walking four and striking out two.
“Those guys came through in an important stretch for us,” Cole said. “Anytime you shut a team down for over six innings like that, you should have a chance to win.”
The Quakers, despite the continuous walks and errors, did have a chance. In the end, however, it was walks and fielding miscues that cost them.