PHILADELPHIA – A matchup and circumstances that have a familiar feeling, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia baseball teams will meet in the final weekend of the regular season tied atop the Ivy League Gehrig Division with identical 14-2 league records.
Penn (20-12, 14-2 Ivy) is coming off a four-game sweep of Ivy rival Princeton this past weekend, while Columbia (24-12, 14-2 Ivy)swept a four-game serieswith Cornell over the weekend anddefeated Fordham 16-3 on Wednesday.
The Quakers and Lions will play a doubleheader Saturday in New York beginning at 1 p.m., before playing a doubleheader on Sunday in Philadelphia, beginning at 1 p.m.
On Sunday, Penn will honor its 10 seniors – Connor Betbeze, Austin Bossart, Paul Cotler, Connor Cuff, Dan Gautieri, Ronnie Glenn, Jeff McGarry, Matt McKinnon, Mitch Montaldo, Stephen Silvestri – around 12:30 p.m. prior to the start of the doubleheader at Meiklejohn Stadium.
Fans can follow the Quakers in New York on Saturday by watching live on ESPN3 or the Ivy League Digital Network (ILDN, $), or following live stats. On Sunday in Philadelphia, fans can watch live on ILDN ($), and follow along on live stats. Fans can follow the action all weekend long on Twitter - @PennBaseball.
SCOUTING COLUMBIA: The Lions are coming into the weekend versus Penn with a five-game winning streak, and winning 8 of their last 10. Columbia is led on offense by Gus Craig (.368, 12 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 30 RBI) and Joe Falcone (.348, 15 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 41 RBI). Outside of their four starting pitchers this weekend, the Lions have seen strong performances from Matt Robinson (1.08 ERA, 1-0, 3 SV) and Harrisen Egly (3.45 ERA, 1-1, 5 SV) out of the bullpen.
COLUMBIA PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS: On the mound the Lions will most likely turn to junior right-handed pitcher Kevin Roy (4-2, 3.19 ERA, 42.1 IP, 33 K) and junior right-hander Adam Cline (2-0, 4.89 ERA, 38.2 IP, 44 K) on Saturday. On Sunday, Columbia will look to junior right-handed pitcher George Thanopouls (3-3, 3.23 ERA, 47.1 IP, 42 K), and senior left-hander Mike Weisman (4-1, 3.05 ERA, 38.1 IP, 18 K).
PENN PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS: Penn will turn to its four weekend starters against Columbia, sophomore left-handed pitcher Mike Reitcheck (5-1, 1.81 ERA, 44.2 IP, 25 K), senior right-hander Connor Cuff (4-1, 2.33 ERA, 38.2 IP, 26 K), sophomore right-hander Jake Cousins (4-1, 2.59 ERA, 41.2 IP, 25 K), and senior left-hander Ronnie Glenn (3-3, 2.68 ERA, 43.2 IP, 43 K)
IN THE REGULAR SEASON VERSUS COLUMBIA IN 2014: Penn and Columbia entered the final weekend of 2014 tied atop the Ivy League Gehrig Division with 13-3 records. In the four-game series that followed, the Quakers and Lions split, each winning two games, and finishing 15-5. The series opened in Philadelphia last year with Columbia winning game one 6-0, before Penn took game two 12-4. Moving on to New York, Penn took game one 3-2, followed by Columbia winning game two 5-2.
GEHRIG DIVISION PLAYOFF GAME VERSUS COLUMBIA IN 2014: After splitting the regular season series, Penn and Columbia played in a one-game playoff to determine the Gehrig Division champion in Philadelphia at Meiklejohn Stadium. In the game, Columbia defeated Penn, 4-0, behind the strength of a complete game from David Speer. Penn managed just five hits with Austin Bossart and Mitch Montaldo each collecting one. Connor Cuff started the game and threw 5.2 innings, before giving way to Ronnie Glenn, who threw 3.1 innings of shutout baseball in relief.
IVY LEAGUE NOTES: Penn has two players in the top five of the Ivy League in batting average – senior first baseman Matt McKinnon is tied for second (.357), and senior catcher Austin Bossart is fourth (.353) … Senior Mitch Montaldo leads the Ivies in home runs (9), and is tied for second in RBI (31). Montaldo is fifth in doubles (13) … McKinnon is sixth in the league in RBI (26), and junior outfielder Matt Greskoff is tied for eighth (24) … Penn as a team leads the Ivies in batting average (.300), doubles (76), and home runs (31) … On the mound, Mike Reitcheck leads the league in ERA (1.81) and is second in the league in wins (5) … Also in the top-10 in the Ivies in ERA are senior right-handed pitcher Connor Cuff in third (2.33), sophomore right-handed pitcher Jake Cousins in fifth (2.59), and Ronnie Glenn in seventh (2.68) … Glenn is third in the league in strikeouts (43), and is averaging 8.86 per game … With two saves, sophomore right-hander Mitchell Hammonds is sixth in the league … As a team on the mound, Penn leads the Ivies with a 3.34 ERA in 256.0 innings pitched. The Quakers have allowed just 95 earned runs … The staff has also allowed the fewest hits (243), 58 less than their closest competitor (Columbia, 301).
NCAA NOTES: Penn currently ranks in the top-15 nationally in two offensive categories – doubles per game (11th, 2.38) and slugging percentage (12th, 0.473) … The Quakers are also top-25 in the country in home runs per game (23rd, 0.97) and batting average (24th, 0.300) … They are also ranked 40th in total home runs (31) and 42nd in overall doubles (76) …On the mound, Penn is ranked 48th in the country in ERA (3.34) … Individually, Mitch Montaldo is ranked 36th in home runs (9), with the leader Andrew Benintendi from Arkansas having hit 14. Montaldo is also ranked 38th in slugging percentage (0.647) … Mike Reitcheck is 40th in the country in individual ERA (1.81).
BIG 5 PLAYER/PITCHER OF THE WEEK: For the second consecutive week senior first baseman Matt McKinnon earned Big 5 Player of the Week, and sophomore left-handed pitcher Mike Reitcheck earned Big 5 Pitcher of the Week for the University of Pennsylvania baseball team. It is the third consecutive week that Penn players have swept the awards, after senior outfielder Connor Betbeze and senior left-handed pitcher Ronnie Glenn earned the Big 5 honors on April 6. The senior left-handed first baseman extended his hitting streak to 10 games, before it ended in the second game against Princeton on Sunday. McKinnon went 7-for-20 (.350) in the final six games of the streak, with eight RBI and a double and home run. He also scored five runs for Penn. For the second consecutive start, Reitcheck went 8.0 innings in an Ivy League outing, picking up his fifth win of the season (5-1) against Princeton on Saturday. Reitcheck’s shutout performance through eight innings helped lower his overall ERA to 1.81 on the season, in 44.2 innings pitched.