PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers have won three out of four and take that momentum in their home opener at Meiklejohn Stadium, as they play Lafayette in a weekend series starting Friday at 2:30 p.m.
The Red and Blue play one game on Friday and then host the Leopards for a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon. Penn is 6-8 and overall after a 3-1 weekend versus Norfolk St. The Leopards, meanwhile, are 4-11 coming into the weekend.
Last Time Out: Almost Swept Under the Rug
Penn came within one run of sweeping Norfolk St, winning the first three games 3-2, 7-0, and 14-5 before dropping the finale in a 2-1 heartbreaker in the bottom of the seventh. The Quakers needed 14 innings to win the first game, getting a Derek Vigoa RBI single in the top of the 14th for the 3-2 win. Vince Voiro followed with a complete-game shutout and the offense exploded for 14 runs on 13 hits on Sunday. In the final game of the weekend, the Quakers trailed 1-0 going into their last at-bats. Freshman Brandon Engelhardt tied it up on a single, but the Spartans scored a run in the last of the seventh for the 2-1 walk-off victory.
Following the Red and Blue
Quaker fans can follow all the action through live stats (click here). A live audio broadcast (click here) of Saturday's action will be available.
Scouting the Leopards
Hitting: Lafayette is hitting .290 as a team, with five players batting over .300. However, the offense is clearly led by A.J. Miller. Miller is batting .426 with 23 hits, 11 runs, six doubles and four home runs, providing a big bat in the middle of the Leopards lineup. The team gets out and runs some too, as they have 15 steals in 15 games.
Pitching: Lafayette has struggled on the mound, posting a 6.15 ERA as a team. The team's most consistent pitcher this season has been John Gentile, who has a 0-3 record despite posting a 3.93 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 18.1 innings of action. Hurlers Zach Fritz and Michael Massa are also expected to start against the Red and Blue. Fritz is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA and have 15 strikeouts and five walks in 21.1 innings. Massa's ERA is slightly better at 6.39 and he is 0-1 in three starts. Massa has thrown 12.2 innings in those three starts with eight strikeouts and four walks.
The Quakers struggled against the Leopards last year, going just 1-3 and dropping both home games. Lafayette won 2-1 and 6-4 at Meiklejohn Stadium before the Penn offense burst out for a 14-3 victory in Easton. They finished the weekend with a 9-8 loss. Then sophomore Chris McNulty pitched a nine-inning complete game for Penn's only victory, though Vince Voiro did go seven innings with six strikeouts in the 2-1 loss.
Home Sweet Home
Penn should be happy to be playing their first games at Meiklejohn Stadium this weekend, a place where they went 13-8 a season ago. In home games last year the Red and Blue pitching staff had a collective ERA of 4.58, as opposed 7.27 away from Meikljohn, and the hitting was improved at home as well. The team hit .332 inside the friendly confines of Meiklejohn, with three players batting over .400. Dan Williams and Jeremy Maas hit .461 and .421 respectively, more than 50 points above their season average. The two also slugged over .700 and had an on-base percentage at least 60 points higher than their batting average.
Pitching, Pitching, Pitching
In Saturday's doubleheader against Norfolk St., the Quakers gave up just two runs combined, beating the Spartans 3-2 in 14 innings and then dispatching of them 7-0. During the two games, freshman Cody Thomson and junior Vince Voiro combined to pitch 12.2 scoreless innings. The two runs are the fewest given up by Penn pitching in a doubleheader since they gave up one last year against Mount St. Mary's (8-0, 6-1) on Saturday, Mar. 21. Ironically enough lefty Chris McNulty started the opening game on both occasions.
Shut Up and Shut Out
Voiro tossed his first career complete-game shutout against Norfolk St. on Saturday and struck out a career-high ten batters as well. It was the sixth career complete game for Voiro, tops among Penn pitchers over the past three seasons. His ten strikeouts were the most by a Quakers since Paul Cusick struck out ten batters against St. Mary's last year.
Extra Inning Affair
Penn's 14-inning win over Norfolk St. was the team's longest game during John Cole's tenure. The previous high was a 13-inning game against Lehigh in 2008, one that they lost 7-4.
Sophomore transfer Greg Zebrack has reached base safely in all 13 games he has played this season. He has hits in ten of 13 games and walked once each of the three games he hasn't gotten a hit. He currently leads the team in on-base percentage (.431), walks (8), hit-by-pitches and stolen bases (5).
Freshman Brandon Engelhardt has served as an offensive catalyst from the leadoff spot for the Quakers. He is currently on an eight-game hitting streak, batting .457 (16-for 35) and has reached base safely in all 14 games this season. He also leads the team with eight multi-hit games and is tied for the team lead with four multi-RBI contests.
Un Poco Maas
Senior Jeremy Maas is second on the team with a .351 average, 20 hits and has a team-high 12 runs this season. He also leads the team in home runs (4) and is slugging a team-best .596.
Senior Jeremy Maas put on a power display on Sunday against Norfolk St., hitting a pair of home runs in the team's 14-5 win. It was the second two-homer game of his career, with the other coming last April 17th against Cornell.
Coming up Clutch
Senior Adrian Lorenzo was vital to the Red and Blue's success over the week for the little things he did. He went just 2-for-8 at the plate, with an RBI triple last week but had a .500 on-base percentage with four walks and five sacrifice bunts.
Double the Fun
Senior Will Davis found his stroke last week, batting .300 with four doubles a triple and four RBI. His five doubles on the season are just two less than he had all of last year.
Late Inning Drama
Penn is a perfect 6-0 when leading after the 6th inning his year. They are also 5-0 when leading after the seventh inning.
Download: Lafayett - baseball-combined.pdf