PHILADELPHIA - Mother Nature has brought baseball to West Philadelphia a day early. The University of Pennsylvania baseball team will take the field for the first time at Meiklejohn Stadium on Friday at 3 p.m. against Binghamton and again in a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon. The games were originally scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, but with snow and rain predicted on Sunday, the games were moved up.
Penn will play its first game at home after playing its first nine away from West Philadelphia, going 2-7. The season started with an 11-day, eight-game road trip in Florida where the Quakers went 2-6, taking games from North Florida and Holy Cross. They returned to the Philadelphia-are on Wednesday for a mid-week affair with Villanova, but fell to the Wildcats, 6-1.
Penn is third in the Ivy League in hitting with a .240 average trailing Columbia and Cornell. The Quakers have been exceptional getting on base to start innings, batting .390 with their lead-off men this season, but have stuggled after that, hitting just .222 with men on base.
SCOUTING BINGHAMTON: It's been a rough start to the year for the Binghamton Bearcats. They will come to the City of Brotherly love carrying a 2-12 record, having lost six straight. The Bearcats salvaged a game in their opening-series against Houston Baptist, winning 11-9 and split a doublheader with Virginia Military Institute, winning a game 15-10. The bats certainly haven't been the issue for Binghamton. As a team, the Bearcats are hitting .287 and have scored more than seven runs in a game five times. They have four players batting over .300 and two above .295, but have stuggled mightily on the mound with a team ERA north of eight.
TESCH LEADS QUAKERS: Senior Gary Tesch has been exceptional for the Quakers this season, posting a .414 average in the first nine games of the season, good for second in the Ivy League. Tesch has been in the lead off spot for most of the season and .500 (5-for-10) when leading off an inning. The Texan is also first in the Accient Eight in stolen bases, swiping four in four tries.
BEGINNERS SKILL: Penn has used four freshman in the starting lineup routinely this season and with some success. Matt Tola has been one of the bright spots from the rookies in 2016 with a .387 average that ranks second on the team and fifth in the Ivy League. He is also first in the Ivys in doubles, racking up four two-baggers.
NOW THE BAD NEWS: Penn is unfortunately at the top of the ranks of some dubious categories in the Ivy League as as well. The Quakers lead the league in strikeouts with 93 and hold the top spot with 18 errors. Penn has turned just two double plays this season after turning zero in its first seven games.