PHILADELPHIA -Just two days removed from an 11-day road trip in the Sunshine State, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team will head to Plymouth Meeting, Pa. for match-up with Villanova on Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. This will be the first of two meetings between the Big Five rivals in 2016, with the second coming during the Liberty Bell Classic.
Things didn't go the Quakers' way in Florida as the the team went 2-6 to start the season, but that doesn't mean there weren't bright spots throughout the trip. Penn used a young lineup for most the the trip, routinely starting four freshman. First year infielder Matt Tola currently leads the team in hitting with a .429 average which is also good for fourth in the Ivy League. Senior Gary Tesch isn't far behind, posting a .423 average. Tesch leads the Accient Eight in stolen bases with three on the young season. As a team, Penn leads the Ivy League in hitting with a .252 team average.
On the mound for Penn will be Andrew Burnick, who makes his second start of the year. Burnick has seen action in two games this season, pitching in 4.2 innings and allowing five hits and three runs. Burnick made his first start against Holy Cross in Florida, pitching three innings before departing with a no decision.
SCOUTING VILLANOVA:The season didn't start the way the Wildcats had hoped. Villanova, which sits at 6-11 on the season, was winless in its first four games, getting swept at Houston in three games, before losing to Chicago State in the opening game of the Snowbird Baseball Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla. The Wildcats took their frustration out on Dartmouth in their next game, beating the Big Green 14-1. After an 0-3 trip to Deland, Fla. Villanova won three straight games, including its first two games in Plymouth Meeting against Delaware State and Lehigh. The Wilcats are 2-1 at home this year with their only loss coming to St. Peters on Sunday. They will play fellow Big Fivers, La Salle on Tuesday before hosting the Quakers.
LAST SEASON AGAINST VILLANOVA:Both games against against Villanova last season belonged to the Wildcats. Penn fell to Villanova 9-4 in the home-opener at Meiklejohn on March 18 and again on April 7, 9-3 in an eight-inning affair in the Liberty Bell Classic.