Baseball Hosts Columbia in Ivy Opening Weekend

PHILADELPHIA – Due to poor field conditions at Columbia’s Andy Coakley Field, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team will now open its Ivy League season at the friendly confines of Meiklejohn Stadium. Originally slated to be a home and home series on Saturday and Sunday, Penn will now host all four games.

The Quakers will look to get their bats going this weekend after scoring just three runs in their last 21 innings. However, Penn’s pitching staff has been dominant since returning from Florida. The Red and Blue have a miniscule 1.24 ERA, having allowed just five earned runs in 36.1 innings.

Freshman Todd Roth and Jim Birmingham have led the staff since coming home. Roth was recently named Big 5 and Ivy League Pitcher of the Week. He hurled a complete game shutout in an 8-0 win at Georgetown Sunday. Roth has also had two scoreless relief outings since returning to Philadelphia.

In his last three outings, Birmingham boasts a 0.96 ERA in 9.1 innings. Along with two scoreless relief appearances, he threw a seven inning, one-run gem at Georgetown.

Columbia comes into the weekend having not played in six days. The Lions were swept in a three-game series at Western Carolina last weekend. Outfielder Jason Banos was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week. Banos has a seven-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .481 (13-for-27). He has also scored 12 runs during that span and has raised his OBS to .406.

Live audio will be available on PennAthletics.com for both Saturday and Sunday’s doubleheaders. Brian Seltzer will provide the play-by-play. Live stats will only be available for Sunday.

Series Notes

• Penn and Columbia have met 212 times in their history with the Quakers holding the advantage, 119-91-2.

• Last season Penn and Columbia split their four-game home-and-home set, with both teams winning at home.

• The Quakers took the Saturday doubleheader; 12-11 and 8-7, while the Lions took two at Andy Coakley Field; 9-8 and 15-3.

• Dating back to 2004, these two teams have been evenly matched. After a spilt of last season’s series, Penn took three out of four in 2005 and Columbia took three out of four in 2004.

• Both teams had freshmen receive honors from the Ivy League this week. Penn hurler Todd Roth was named pitcher of the week, while Columbia outfielder Jason Banos earned rookie of the week honors.

• Penn catcher Josh Corn was named Big 5 Player of the Week on Monday. Corn was 6-for-11 (.545) with a pair of doubles last week.

• With Saturday’s doubleheader being moved to Meiklejohn Stadium, the Quakers begin their longest homestand of the season. Penn will play its next nine games at home.