Baseball Splits a Pair with Charleston Southern

Charleston, S.C. - The Penn baseball team split a pair of games against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers on Saturday afternoon at Buccaneer Ballpark. Vince Voiro improved to 2-1 with the win in the opener, going seven and a third innings and striking out six while Cody Thomson was dominant in picking up his second save, collecting five outs against only four CSU batters. Things didn't go quite as smoothly in the second game of the twinbill. After racing out to a 2-0 lead, Penn would allow seven consecutive runs to score before a late rally brought what would have been the winning run to the plate in the top of the ninth. Eventually, the Buccaneers were able to escape the jam and earn an 8-5 victory. Penn will try to win the series tomorrow when they play a third and final game against Charleston Southern, beginning at 1 p.m.

Game One - Penn 4, Charleston Southern 3
Box Score
The Quakers' second multi-home run game in a row was just enough to push the Red and Blue past Charleston Southern in the opening game of the series. Greg Zebrack's second home run of the season in the top of the first inning to left-center gave Penn a lead they would never relinquish. On the mound, Voiro worked around baserunners in four of the first five innings but was unscored upon as the Quakers clung to their 1-0 lead.

That changed in the sixth inning when Derek Vigoa started a two-out rally with a bunt single. Matt McKinnon doubled to the gap in right-center and suddenly the Quakers were in business with men on second and third. Austin Bossart made the most of the opportunity, singling to right field and scoring two as both runners were off on contact, giving Penn a 3-0 lead.

The Bucs scratched a run across in the bottom of the sixth but some good defense kept CSU from putting a crooked number on the board. Voiro had runners on the corners with no one out after the first two batters of the inning reached on a hit by pitch and single to right. Facing Chase Shelton, Charleston Southern's leading hitter, Voiro induced a 4-6-3 double play that brought the runner in from third but cleared the basepaths. After another base hit to right, Bossart ended the inning by pegging the runner down on an attempted stolen base.

Bossart continued to dash CSU's hopes in the seventh inning. With a man on second and two away, the freshman catcher took a pitch from Voiro and then fired to Kyle Toomey covering the bag, picking off the Buccaneer runner to end the frame.

Penn didn't have much going on in the eighth inning with the first two batters of the inning retired, but Rick Brebner changed that with a solo shot to center field that would have important consequences later on as the Quakers grabbed a 4-1 lead. In the bottom of the eighth, the Buccaneers would load the bases with none away before Voiro was able to temporarily avoid any damage as Toomey threw home on a ground ball to second, hitting Bossart for the force at the plate. With one away, Shelton would single up the middle to score two and make it just a one run game. The ball eluded Zebrack in center, putting men on second and third and sending head coach John Cole to his bullpen for Thomson.

Just when things were starting to look bleak for Penn, Thomson was able to do his job to perfection to keep Voiro and the team in line for the victory. With the runners moving on contact, Alex Tomasovich lined out to Toomey at second base. The sophomore then flipped to Vigoa covering the bag to double up Shelton and move the game into the ninth inning with the lead intact.

Though it was still a precarious 4-3 lead headed into the ninth, Thomson made sure there was no drama involved with a routine 1-2-3 inning to pick up his second save of the season. Voiro was credited with his second win in as many starts and now stands at 2-1 on the year.

Game Two - Charleston Southern 8, Penn 5
Box Score
Penn got off to a good start in its quest for a Saturday sweep of the Buccaneers, scoring a run in each of its first two trips up to the plate, but Charleston Southern came alive to gain a 7-2 lead through six and held on for an 8-5 victory over the Quakers.

Ryan Deitrich and Kyle Toomey collected RBI's in the first and second innings, respectively, scoring Greg Zebrack and Derek Vigoa for a 2-0 lead. CSU erased the deficit off Penn starter Matt Gotschall in the bottom of the second, scoring three times after the lead-off batter reached on a bunt and moved to second on a Gotschall throwing error. With one away and runners on the corners, two consecutive walks would bring the first Bucs' run in to score and a struck batter would tie the game at 2-2. A ground ball to Toomey nearly ended the inning but the second baseman couldn't turn two and a fielder's choice brought in the final run for a 3-2 CSU lead.

Charleston Southern added another run in the fourth but Gotschall made it through five complete innings and into the sixth before John Cole turned to his bullpen to keep his squad in it. But after a Gotschall lead-off walk in that inning, CSU's Bobby Ison tripled to right field, bringing two runners in for a 6-2 Buccaneers lead. With Ison on third, Alex Tomasovich laid down a bunt that ended with him reaching safely while scoring Ison to extend the lead to 7-2.

Penn began to rally in the seventh. Vigoa led off with a walk and Matt McKinnon blasted his first career home run to left field to draw Penn within three at 7-4. The Charleston Southern bullpen began to lock down after that, retiring the next six Penn batters to step to the plate, and after the Buccaneer bats added a run in the bottom of the eighth, the Quakers trailed 8-4 headed into the ninth.

Determined not to go quietly, Rick Brebner and Vigoa each singled to open the inning, forcing Charleston Southern into a pitching change. After a wild pitch moved the pair into scoring position at second and third, Brebner was brought home by Toomey on a sac fly to left field. Austin Bossart followed with a single and Brandon Engelhardt walked and suddenly the winning run was at the plate with two outs. Corey Deighan was able to work his way out of trouble and earn the save for the Bucs by getting Zebrack to ground out to the shortstop to end the game.

Tomorrow's game is set for 1 p.m. and live stats will once again be available here. Connor Cuff is slated to get the start as Penn hopes to win the three-game set.

Download: Penn-CSU1.pdf