Baseball Scraps to Earn Split Against Cornell

PHILADELPHIA - A pair of spectacularly pitched games resulted in a split on Saturday afternoon between the Penn baseball team and the visiting Cornell Big Red. Penn (16-20, 7-9 Ivy) put ace Vince Voiro on the hill in the day's first game and the senior settled in after a tough first inning. Unfortunately, Penn couldn't battle back from an early deficit and fell, 3-0. The Quakers had no such trouble in the afternoon contest, jumping ahead to a 3-0 lead early and responding with a late run after Cornell had crawled back to tie it. A Ryan Deitrich triple in the seventh inning was key as the Red and Blue avoided the sweep with a 4-3 win.

Game One - Cornell 3, Penn 0
Box Score
Cornell couldn't muster much against Voiro, but the Big Red matched the Penn senior with an ace of their own, Connor Kaufmann. The Big Red sophomore (coming in with an ERA of 0.89 in Ivy League starts) shut out the Quakers on just three hits, two of which came from Derek Vigoa.

The visitors from Ithaca did all the damage they had to in the first inning of the contest. A one-out single put a man on for Brian Billigen, who chopped a ball towards Spencer Branigan at first base. The Penn first baseman leaped but had the ball nick off the top of his glove and away into foul territory as the runners ended the play at second and third. With two down, Voiro almost was out of the inning until a he uncorked a wild pitch that bounced away from Austin Bossart to the backstop. Bossart swiftly gained control of the ball and threw to Voiro covering home, but the bang-bang call went Cornell's way for a 1-0 lead.

Things snowballed from there in the inning. A double from Frank Hager made it 2-0 for Cornell and Brandon Lee followed that up with a RBI single before Voiro could end the side with a strikeout.

The best opportunity the Quakers had was in the bottom of the third inning. Kyle Toomey led off with an infield single and with one away, Bossart grounded to second base for what could have been a double play. But with Toomey and Bossart playing a hit-and-run, Toomey beat the throw to second and the relay to first was tardy as both runners were save. Kaufmann kept the Red and Blue off the board by inducing the next batter, Deitrich, into a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play.

After the shaky start and a second inning that ended with the bases juiced for Cornell, Voiro settled into a groove and locked down the Big Red for the rest of the way. Cornell could only reach base on a walk in the fourth inning and a lead-off bunt single in the fifth was erased with a double play by Toomey at second. Designated hitter Matt Hall led off the sixth inning with a solid single into left field, but his replacement, pinch-runner JD Whetsel, was promptly picked off by Voiro on a throw over to Branigan.

It was a great effort by Voiro, who threw his fifth complete game of the season and easily could have been in a position to win if he had been opposing anyone other than Kaufmann. Vigoa's second hit of the game came with two down in the fourth inning and that was the last bit of offense that Penn managed in the game. Kaufmann (6-1) retired the last 10 Quaker hitters in order, including strikeouts of the final four, to cruise to the win in the first of two contests on the day.

Game Two - Penn 4, Cornell 3
Box Score
In contrast, Saturday's second game finally featured the Quakers being the aggressor and gaining an early lead on Cornell. Following a 1-2-3 first inning from starter Ronnie Glenn, the Penn bats got to work on Cornell's Brent Jones in the bottom half. Greg Zebrack singled to center field and Deitrich followed him with a double down the line in left field to put two on for Bossart. The freshman catcher tapped a ball to first base and Cornell's Hager took the out while giving up the run, putting the Red and Blue ahead at 1-0. Glenn, placed into the role of batting for himself out of the pitcher's spot, helped his own cause with a two-out RBI single that brought Deitrich around and made it 2-0.

Glenn again put Cornell down in order in the second and the Quakers added to the lead shortly thereafter. Mitch Montaldo walked with one away and Brandon Engelhardt reached after a fielding error by Jones. With the runners on the move, Toomey executed the hit-and-run to perfection, scoring Montaldo with a single through the wide-open left side vacated by the shortstop.

Given a 3-0 lead, Glenn made it stick with scoreless innings from the Big Red in the third, fourth and fifth innings before the freshman began to waver. Two runs scored (unearned) in the sixth inning before John Cole went to his pen to bring on Stephen Silvestri to try to keep Penn ahead. Though Silvestri pitched well in his inning and a third, Cornell was able to tie the score on his watch, keeping Glenn from picking up his first win.

Turning again to the bullpen in the seventh inning, Cole brought on another freshman, this time Dan Gautieri. Gautieri ended the frame with a strikeout and easy ground out from Vigoa to Branigan to get the game to stretch time and put Penn back on offense. With one down and the bases empty, Deitrich ripped a triple off the wall in left-center, putting the go-ahead run just 90 feet away from home. Following a pitching change from Cornell, Houston Hawley was able to get Bossart out on a ground ball to short without Deitrich scoring. With two outs, Glenn again put his stamp on the game when he grounded to Cornell's Marshall Yanzick at short. Though a good play would have ended the inning and kept Penn off the board, Yanzick bobbled and eventually dropped the ball, allowing Deitrich to come home for a 4-3 lead.

Given that small window of opportunity, Gautieri made the Quakers' lead hold up. Cornell went down in order in both the eighth and ninth innings - four times on weak ground outs - to end Penn's four-game slide and improve Gautieri to 3-1 on the season.

Penn's final series of the 2012 season comes next Friday and Saturday against the Columbia Lions. Columbia comes to Philadelphia for two games on Friday beginning at 12 p.m. before the home-and-home series is completed at the Lions' Robertson Field at Satow Stadium on Saturday.

Download: Penn-Cornell Game Three.pdf