PHILADELPHIA - Needing to bounce back from a rough weekend series with Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team will try to start the week off right when it faces La Salle on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Penn holds a 14-18 record this season and has lost it's only two meetings with a teams in the Big Five, falling to Villanova twice.
Heading into the Princeton series, the Quakers were a game back of the Tigers in the Gehrig Division and needing a good showing to make a run at the title. Penn lost twice on Saturday and the first game on Sunday to fall to four games behind, but salvaged game two on Sunday thanks to some late game heroics from Ryan Mincher. Mincher hit his Ivy League leading fifth home run of the season to break a 2-2 tie in the eighth, giving the Quakers a 4-2 lead. Tim Graul added an RBI double in the ninth to seal the Quakers 5-2 and end the weekend on a good note. Timely hitting was their downfall, going just 3-for-29 with runners on in the series.
SCOUTING LA SALLE: It's been a rough season for the Explorers, who head the Meiklejohn carrying a 10-26 record. La Salle has lost its last five games and scored just five total runs in those contests. As a team, they are hitting just .208 on the season, have scored 117 runs (3.25 per game) and have hit just 11 home runs. It hasn't been much better on the mound for the team from 20th and Olney. The Explorers have a 5.79 team ERA and are allowing opponents to hit at a .276 clip. The road hasn't been kind to the Blue and Gold, with 18 of their 26 losses coming away from home.
LAST TIME OUT AGAINST LA SALLE: It's been three years since these Big Five foes have met, but Penn was victorious in 2013, 5-3. Penn was stifled by La Salle starting pitcher Matt Williams and suffered through five scoreless innings, but the Explorers went to their bullpen in the sixth inning and that’s when the Quaker offense awoke. A two-run home run from Ryan Deitrich broke a streak of 15 innings without a run and ignited Penn to a 5-3 win at La Salle’s Hank DeVincent Field.
BIG TIME TIM: In a week that saw the Quakers struggle offensively, Tim Graul was the exception. Graul went 10-for-20 in five games, hitting in each one. The junior had two three-hit games , four doubles, and his home run on Sunday helped the Quakers to their only win of the week. For his efforts he was the Quakers nominee for Big Five and Ivy League Player of the Week that will be announced later this week.
BACK TO HIS OLD SELF: In his triumphant return to the rotation, Jake Cousins pitched seven innings allowing one earned run and picking up the win. Cousins outing halted a three-game losing streak for Penn against Princeton and brought the Quakers to just three games back of the Tigers in the Gehrig Division.