PHILADELPHIA – Staring a needed miracle squarely in the face, the Penn baseball team takes the field against its arch rival Princeton this weekend for a four-game series against the Tigers at Meiklejohn Stadium.
The Quakers enter the weekend scuffling in league play, with a 1-11 mark against Ivy foes. Fortunately for the Red and Blue, they sit only four games out of the lead with eight to play. Penn has a chance to climb back into the Gehrig Division race with a sweep this weekend over the Tigers. Doing so would close the gap between Penn and Columbia heading into the final series of the season. While it would be miraculous, the Quaker nine can take the field this weekend knowing they are still alive in the division race and can quickly turn their season around with a set of wins.
Momentum may be heading in Penn’s direction after a comeback win over La Salle on Thursday. Penn trailed 9-8 in the eighth inning before the Quakers put four runs on the board. Freshman Chris McNulty slammed the door in the ninth for his first career save in a 12-9 win.
McNulty has been a revelation for Penn’s pitching staff over the past few weeks. He has a complete game win to go on his record in addition to his save and the southpaw has shown a willingness to pound the srikezone and challenge hitters with his command. His seven strikeouts to only one walk in his last start have quickly turned into a reliable starter in the rotation.
At the dish, Penn still has eight regulars hitting over .300. Jeremy Maas leads the way at .394 with Dan Williams following at .344. As a team, Penn is one double away from equaling the fifth-best total in a season by a Penn squad with 74 and two away from the fourth-highest total of 75. If that double comes, expect it off the bat of Maas or Derek Vigoa as each has 12 doubles on the season – one shy of the fifth-most in a single season by a player.
Princeton has the lowest ERA in the Ivy league and David Palms is second individually with a 3.28 ERA. Brad Gemberling has struck out 49 batters on the season, also tops in the Ancient Eight. They will have their hands full this weekend dealing with Penn’s Ivy-leading offense.
Both doubleheaders start at noon at Meiklejohn Stadium.