PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers open Ivy League play at Meiklejohn Stadium with a doubleheader against Harvard on Saturday at noon and then square off with two-time defending league champion Dartmouth, Sunday at 12 p.m. for another doubleheader.
Penn is 8-10 on the season after dropping their midweek game to La Salle. The Crimson come into the weekend with a 3-16 record while Dartmouth has the best record of any Ivy League squad with a 10-4 mark overall.
Last Time Out
Missed opportunities were the theme as the Red and Blue lost a tight 6-4 decision to La Salle on Tuesday. The Quakers spotted La Salle an early 5-0 lead but fought back to get within one at 5-4 in the fourth. Penn put runners on third in the sixth and seventh but couldn't bring them home and the Explorers got an insurance run in the top of eighth for the 6-4 final. Despite the loss there were some good performances at the plate as Jeremy Maas went 3-for-3 and Derek Vigoa had two hits, including his first home run of the season.
Following the Red and Blue
Penn fans can follow all the action via live stats (click here) and a live audio broadcast of the game (click here).
Rounding into Form
After a slow start to the season, the Penn bats have started to get going as evidenced by the team's 35 hits in the last three games. Leading the way for the Red and Blue is senior Jeremy Maas. He has been on a tear recently and upped his average to .408 in the process. He also leads the team in slugging percentage (.634), on-base percentage (.488), hits (29), runs (17) and is tied for the team lead with four home runs. Freshman Brandon Engelhardt is the only other Quaker batting over .300 and is hitting a tidy .346. He has 27 hits, a .384 on-base percentage and leads the team with 16 RBI. Overall the team is hitting .277 with a .369 on-base percentage. The team has also swiped 24 bases this season, with four players recording at least three steals.
On the Mound
Penn won't deviate from the norm on the mound, starting senior Paul Cusick, juniors Vince Voiro, Chris McNulty and freshman Matt Gotschall. The four have all made at least three starts and thrown 24.0 innings. Cusick is tied for the team lead with two wins and has a career-low 3.64 ERA to go along with 30 strikeouts to 12 walks in 29.2 innings of action. Junior Vince Voiro has a deceiving 1-3 record, despite leading the team with a 2.67 ERA. He already has a complete game shutout his year and in 27 innings of work has struck out 32 batters while walking just seven. McNulty struggled in his last start against La Salle, but has been solid overall with a 1-2 record and a 4.38 ERA. In 24.2 innings he has 14 strikeouts and has given up eight walks. The lone freshman starter, Matt Gotschall has more the held his own, posting a 3.00 ERA with 19 strikeouts and ten walks in 24.0 innings. He is 1-0 and batters are hitting just .244 against him, tops on the team.
From the Bullpen
Freshman Cody Thomson appeared in the ninth inning of each of Penn's last three games and could be a factor again this weekend. In those three appearances he threw 4.0 innings and gave up just two singles without allowing a run. During that span he also had four strikeouts and no walks. Sophomore John Beasley could also see some action as he hasn't allowed a run in either of his last two outings, tossing 3.2 innings while striking out five batters.
Scouting the Crimson
Hitting: Harvard is batting.238 on the season though four players are hitting over .300. However, once they get on base they are running as evidenced by the team's league-leading 34 stolen bases. Three different players have at least six steals and nine have stolen a base this year. Jeff Reynolds and Samuel Franklin are the catalysts for the offense as they lead the team with 20 and 21 hits respectively. Franklin also is tied for the team lead with eight steals on the year.
Pitching: Max Pearlman is undoubtedly the ace of the staff, posting a 1.85 ERA in 24.1 innings of work. He is a misleading 1-3 overall with 25 strikeouts and is allowing opponents to his just .202 off of him. Eric Eadington has also been solid with a 4.84 ERA in 22.1 innings. He has 25 strikeouts, but has also walked 16 batters. As a team, the Crimson have a 6.39 ERA with a bevy of relievers keeping the number as high as it is.
Scouting the Big Green
Hitting: The best hitting team in the Ivy League, Dartmouth is currently ranked fourth in the nation with a .345 batting average and is the sixth highest scoring team in the country, at 8.8 runs per game. They have also flashed power, ranking eighth with a .488 slugging percentage. Leading this offense is the duo of Ennis Coble and Joe Sclafani. Colble leads the team with a .420 average and Sclafani is right behind him at .419. Coble also had an on-base percentage of .517 and has 14 runs, five double and 15 RBI. Sclafani, meanwhile, leads the team with 26 hits and 19 runs and has four doubles and a pair of triples.
Pitching: In addition to strong hitting, Dartmouth also boasts the lowest staff ERA in the Ivy League, at 3.86. The Big Green have a balanced staff with Kyle Hendricks and Kyle Hunter leading the rotation. Hendricks has a 1.35 ERA and a 2-1 record in three starts. He has thrown 20.0 innings, allowing just three earned runs while walking four and striking out 28. Hunter boasts a 1.50 ERA and also has a 2-1 record in 18.0 innings. He has given up 21 hits and has 14 strikeouts to go with five walks. Cole Sulser has also been strong this year striking out 21 batters and walking just two in 17.0 innings of work. He also has one win in four appearances with an ERA of 4.24.
The Quakers open Ivy play this year looking to improve on last year's second place finish in the Lou Gehrig division. Last year the team finished 10-10 in league play, but was in contention for a league title going into the final weekend of the year. Harvard also finished 10-10 in league play last year, including a sweep of the Red and Blue. In Cambridge, Penn struggled on the mound, falling to the Crimson 12-9 and 10-9. Dartmouth, meanwhile, went 13-7 in Ivies last year to win the Red Rolfe division. The Quakers actually split with the Big Green last year, beating them 9-5 in the opener and then losing 3-2 in 11 innings. Vince Voiro got the win on the mound and Mike Mariano had a home run and three RBI in the victory.
Home Sweet Home
Despite being 2-2 at Meiklejohn Stadium, the Quakers are hitting .326 at home and have a staff ERA of 4.36. Jeremy Maas is 9-for-14 (.643) with five runs, two doubles and two steals while Greg Zebrack is batting .375 with three doubles, a triple and a .444 on-base percentage. On the mound, Cody Thomson has yet to give up a run at home while classmate Matt Gotschall boasts a 2.25 ERA in one start with six strikeouts.