Baseball Recovers to Win One at Brown

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The University of Pennsylvania baseball team had to settle for a split with Brown on Saturday after dropping a 9-0 decision to the Bears in the opening game of a twinbill. Penn (17-10, 4-2 Ivy) responded immediately in the second game with two runs in each of the first three innings to take a 6-1 lead, and were able to hold on for a 9-5 victory. The Quakers complete the Ivy League weekend road trip with a 12 p.m. start on Sunday at Yale.

Game One – Brown 9, Penn 0
Box Score
A pair of home runs gave Brown all the offense they would need in the opener, but an ugly sixth inning made it official as Penn gave up six insurance runs in the late stages of the game. Connor Cuff had his four-game winning streak snapped, falling to 4-2 on the season. For Brown, Anthony Galan threw a complete game four-hitter to improve to 1-2.

With both pitchers cruising through the early innings, the game turned in the bottom of the third inning as a Penn error put one man aboard with one out. Will Marcal’s second home run of the season then put Brown up 2-0 as the game moved into the top of the fourth.

Penn left one man aboard in the fourth inning, and the offensive frustrations of the game were summed up in the fifth. After Rick Brebner doubled and Mitch Montaldo walked to open the frame, the two found themselves at second and third with two down after a wild pitch moved them both up into scoring position. Connor Betbeze then lined sharply into left field but a sliding two-handed grab from Daniel Massey robbed the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week and kept Penn off the board yet again.

In the bottom half of the fifth, Brown added onto the lead as JJ Franco hit one out into the power alley in left-center to put the Bears on top, 3-0.

The last real chance for the Quakers came in the top of the sixth as Ryan Deitrich and Spencer Branigan walked with one away. The two were at the corners with two down as Brebner came to the plate with a chance to cut into the lead. The lefty batter connected solidly on a Galan offering and lined it into right field, however it was straight at Marcal, who barely had to move to end the side and keep the Red and Blue scoreless.

Brown all but ended it in the bottom of the sixth. A potential double play ball hit off the glove of Ryan Mincher, allowing the first run to score with one away. Franco then plated two with a RBI single to make it 6-0. That was followed by RBIs from John Sheridan, Marcal and Cody Slaughter before Penn could escape the inning.

Despite Penn’s struggles, Deitrich managed to go 2-for-2 with a walk to up his Ivy League leading totals at the plate.

Game Two – Penn 9, Brown 5
Box Score
Penn got on track in the second game with some help from Brown starter Heath Mayo. The senior’s last go-round against the Quakers didn’t go quite as he planned, as he walked three batters, hit another and allowed a single to Mike Vilardo to fall behind 2-0 before being lifted from the ballgame without recording an out.

Brown recovered to get out of the inning without any further damage and actually cut into the lead in the bottom of the first with an RBI double, but that was as close as the Bears would get.

The Quakers added onto their advantage in the second inning as Mincher tripled into center field and came in to score on a Betbeze single between first and second. After Betbeze moved into scoring position with a stolen base, Vilardo singled into left field, allowing Betbeze to scamper around to make it a 4-1 Penn lead.

It was more of the same in the third inning as the Red and Blue put two more on the board. Brebner started the rally with a one-out walk and then moved to third as Brown pitcher Chris Smith threw wildly to first on a pickoff attempt. Austin Bossart drove Brebner in with a grounder right down the third base line that went for two bases, and Montaldo brought the Penn catcher with a single into shallow center for a 6-1 Quaker edge.

After giving up a run in the first inning to the Bears, McGarry settled into a groove and had things under control until the sixth. Giving Brown life by hitting Marcal to lead off in the bottom of the sixth and then walking Jake Levine, the Bears were able to string together consecutive base hits to score two runs before McGarry could strike out Dan Kerr for the first out of the stanza. John Beasley came on with one away and runners on the corners and got consecutive groundouts to end the inning, but not before one more run was able to come across, cutting the Penn lead to 6-4.

Just when it looked like the game could be getting dicey, the middle of the Quaker order rediscovered their hitting stroke to put the game away. Deitrich started it off with a one-out single to center and moved to second on a passed ball. Given the RBI opportunity, Branigan was right there to single into center himself, scoring Deitrich to make it 7-4. After Brown went deeper into its bullpen, Brebner recovered from a foul ball off his foot to crank a two-run shot over the scoreboard in right field – his first home run of the season – to up the Penn lead to 9-4.

The Bears managed one run in the bottom of the ninth inning, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome the steep deficit. McGarry improved to 3-2 with the victory, while Mayo’s struggles continue as he goes to 0-4 on the season. Beasley worked the final 3.2 innings to earn his first career save, allowing only two hits in that stretch to squelch any chance of a Brown comeback.

Vilardo led the Penn attack in the second game, going 3-for-5 with a double. Brebner was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored.

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