PHILADELPHIA - Amidst a playoff like atmosphere at Meiklejohn Stadium Saturday afternoon, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team split two games with Columbia, winning 2-0 in game one and falling 8-6 in extra innings in game two, setting the table for an Ivy League Gehrig Division playoff game for the second consecutive season between the two teams.
Penn (22-14, 16-4 Ivy) and Columbia (26-14, 16-4 Ivy) will meet in a playoff game at Columbia next weekend, with a date and time to be determined. (UPDATE: Click here for playoff game information.)The winner will advance to the Ivy League Championships Series against Rolfe Division winner Dartmouth (20-19, 16-4 Ivy).
It was a final weekend of the 2015 regular season that was reminiscent to last season, in which Penn and Columbia split the series forcing a playoff game for the Gehrig Division title. In the playoff game played in Philadelphia, Columbia defeated Penn, 4-0, and moved on to the Ivy League Championship Series.
On Sunday, Penn celebrated Senior Day prior to the two games, celebrating its 10 seniors - Connor Betbeze, Austin Bossart, Paul Cotler, Connor Cuff, Dan Gautieri, Ronnie Glenn, Jeff McGarry, Matt McKinnon, Mitch Montaldo, and Stephen Silvestri.
Once action began in game one, sophomore right-handed pitcher Jake Cousins took control and dominated the game on the mound for the Quakers. Cousins (5-1) threw a complete game shutout, allowing just one base hit, while striking out six Columbia batters.
With the win, Cousins is now tied for the team lead in wins with fellow sophomore Mike Reitcheck, both with five. Reitcheck leads the team with a 1.81 ERA, with Cousins just behind him with a 2.22 ERA.
Penn’s offense scored its two runs in game one on a Mitch Montaldo solo home run to left field in the fourth inning, and a RBI by Jeff McGarry in the sixth inning. Montaldo’s home run was his 10th of the season, leading the Ivy League.
Game two starting pitcher for Penn right-hander Connor Cuff, was knocked out of the game in the top of the first inning, trailing 3-0, after recording only a single out.
In relief senior right-handed pitcher Dan Gautieri worked 4.2 innings, allowing just one run on two hits, keeping the Quakers within striking distance and leaving the game tied, at 4-4.
Both teams would add single runs in the sixth and seventh innings, going into extra innings tied 6-6, before Columbia scored twice off of sophomore reliever Mitchell Hammonds (1-3) in the 10th inning.
Leading Penn in game two was senior catcher Austin Bossart, who homered in the fourth inning, his fourth of the year, finishing the game with three hits and two RBI.
Junior outfielder Matt Greskoff had two hits, both doubles, with an RBI in game two, and senior infielder Jeff McGarry also had two hits and an RBI. Senior outfielder Connor Betbeze had two RBI for the Quakers.
Penn finishes the regular season with a 22-14 overall record and a 16-4 Ivy League record, the most wins all-time in league play in a single season in program history. The previous mark was 15 wins, set in 1989 (15-3) and matched last season in 2014 (15-5).