Baseball Heads North For Ivy Weekend

PHILADELPHIA – After finishing an 11-game home stand with a sweep of a doubleheader against Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday, Penn travels north to New England for its first road Ivy weekend of the season. The Quakers will play two games at Dartmouth (4/5) and two more at Harvard (4/6) as they complete their slate of games with the teams that make up the Rolfe Division of the Ancient Eight (the suspended game with Yale not withstanding).

Two wins over Saint Joseph’s brought Penn’s record to 9-9 with a game against Yale yet to be completed due to darkness. In the Ivy League, Penn is 1-2.

Since returning from Florida, Penn is 6-4 and has seen its numbers trend in the positive direction both at the plate and on the mound.

After the Quakers finished their Spring Trip, their team batting average stood at .268. In the 11 games since returning to Philadelphia, Penn is 110-for-362, a .304 average, to bring their season total to .300.

Over the same period, Penn’s team ERA has dropped from 5.96 to 4.80.

Steve Gable has hit safely in 14-straight games, and in 17 of Penn’s 19 games this season. His 3-for-7 day against Saint Joseph’s actually dropped his average from .460 to .457 – the highest on the team. He has 11 multi-hit games this season. His 32 hits and 23 RBI through 19 games this season have already surpassed his totals from 38 games his freshman season.

Michael Gatti has seemingly won the starting job in centerfield with not only his glove but his ability to create offense at the plate and on the basepaths. Since taking over the staring spot in the series with Mount St. Mary’s, Gatti has improved his average from .100 to .350, batting .433 over the last nine game. He has also caught all 20 balls hit his way in the outfield.

Three freshmen pitchers have joined sophomore Todd Roth in the starting rotation. Sam Gilbert, Jeremy Maas and Paul Cusick are a combined 4-2 and all have ERAs under 4.58.

Gilbert has won the last two games he has pitched in. Against Brown last Sunday, he pitched 6.2 innings of scoreless relief for his first collegiate win. He followed that up with a scoreless inning against Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday in game two. He has yet to allow a run in his 10.2 innings of work this season.

Dartmouth enters the weekend with a 10-8 overall record and the Big Green are 4-0 in Ivy play. Last weekend, Dartmouth swept twin bills with Princeton and Cornell to jump out to an early lead in the Rolfe Division. The Big Green had been on a seven-game winning streak before losing to Sienna, 10-8, on Wednesday.

Saturday’s games will match the Ivy League’s top hitting team in Dartmouth against its top pitching team in the Quakers. As of April 1 (when the last official Ivy stats were released), the Big Green lead the Ancient Eight in batting average (.335) and runs scored (132). Penn boats the league’s lowest ERA (4.80) as well as the least amount of hits (161) and runs allowed (106).

Junior Michael Pagliarulo has been a force for Dartmouth this season. He is batting .426 with four home runs. Last week, he was named Ivy League Co-Player of the Week after his offensive explosion against Cornell. In the sweep over the Big Red, Pagliarulo had six hits and six RBI with two home runs and four runs scored.

On the mound, Russell and Robert Young are Dartmouth’s two top starters. Russell, a senior and captain of the Big Green, is 2-2 over his four starts with 3.77 ERA and two complete games. His younger brother, Robert, has started five games and is 2-1 with a 4.33 ERA. Both are left-handed pitchers.

After finishing up with Dartmouth, Penn will travel to Harvard for a pair of games on Sunday. The Crimson are 1-17 this season, with their only win a 4-1 win over Lafayette. While a quick glance at Harvard’s record shows only the one win, a deeper look shows that the Crimson have played one of the toughest schedules in the Ivy League – if not the country. Harvard has played nine games against teams ranked in the top 20. The Crimson have lost six games by less than two runs.

Matt Vance drives the offense for Harvard. The senior infielder is a two-time first-team All-Ivy performer leads the Crimson in hits, runs and RBI. His average of .290 is tops among players who have played in every game. Tom Stack-Babich was playing extremely well before going down to injury. He was hitting .500 before sitting out the seven games before returning in Harvard’s 4-3 loss at Holy Cross on Wednesday.

There is no official word on Live Stats from Dartmouth, but if the games are online you can find the link here.

The games with Harvard can be followed online here.