Baseball Splits with Brown; Five-Run Fifth Wins Game Two

Brown 2, Penn 1 (Game One)

Penn 6, Brown 4 (Game Two)

PHILADELPHIA – Penn and Brown met for the first time on the baseball diamond since the Ivy League Championship Series on Sunday, and after two close games, each team escape with its first Ivy win of 2008.

In game one, Brown scored a run in each of the first two innings and held on for a 2-1 win in the seven-inning game.

Game two did not start much better for Penn, with the Bears scoring three runs in the first inning of starter John D'Agostini before the Quakers rallied for five runs in the fifth inning to take the lead. The Red and Blue added a run in the seventh and Brown countered with a run in the top of the ninth, but Tom Grandieri escaped a bases loaded jam with a double play and a lineout to save the 6-4 win for Penn.

Game two began auspiciously for Penn as the Bears connected for three runs off of D’Agostini who was making his first start of the season. Steve Daniels started the game with a double to left-center. After a sacrifice bunt moved him to third, Daniels scored when a grounder from Matt Nuzzo went under the glove of Dan Williams. A wild pitch from D’Agostini and then two walks loaded the bases for Nick Punal. A single from the right fielder drove in two more runs, and that was all for D’Agostini.

Sam Gilbert came in out of the bullpen and escaped the inning with no further damage. Gilbert pitched 6.2 innings in game two, allowing zero runs on five hits. He was consistently throwing first-pitch strikes and inducing ground balls (ten of his 17 outs were grounders).

The prospect of stepping into the game so early and in a precarious situation did not faze the rookie.

“As a staff, we are trained to be ready at any time,” Gilbert said. “When I came in, I knew my job was to throw strikes, especially early in the count. That makes the hitter press a bit and swing at a pitcher’s pitch. Then we can get them to do what we want and that really helps the team out.”

With Gilbert corralling the Brown offense, it allowed Penn’s offense to climb back into the game.

Despite having runners on in each of the first three innings, the Quakers found themselves still trailing in the bottom of the fifth inning. Five was the lucky number in the inning, as Penn rallied for five runs in the fifth inning while reaching base five different ways.

Williams started the inning with a walk. Jeff Cellucci continued his weekend of contribution with a hard-hit ball to third. Papenhause’s throw to second to start a double-play sailed wide-right and all the way to the outfield. Williams scampered to third and Cellucci sat on first. Michael Gatti followed with a single to right that scored Williams.

It bears mentioning that Gatti has settled extremely well into his role as centerfielder and nine-hitter for coach John Cole. This weekend, in four games he was 6-of-15 at the plate with three runs scored and his first two RBI of the season. He also stole a base and had numerous catches in the middle of the outfield over the weekend that prevented runs from scoring.

With the first run of the game across the plate, Penn continued the pressure. Adrian Lorenzo walked to load the bases. Steve Gable – who is batting .460 after the weekend – singled home his 18th and 19th RBI of the season to tie the game.

Lorenzo scored when Kyle Armeny ground out, 1B to pitcher. Gable then advanced to third on a wild pitch. William Gordon drove in the final run of the inning with a single to center, scoring Gable. Penn had the bases loaded when Matt Toffaletti reached on a passed ball and Williams was hit by a pitch, but a pop-out ended the inning. After five innings, Penn led, 5-3.

In the 7th inning, the Quakers added an important insurance run when Williams scored Gordon from third with a grounder to third.

With two on and one out in the eighth inning, Tom Grandieri was brought in to relive Gilbert. Brown’s lineup features a number of left-handed batters, and Grandieri, a southpaw, was expected to equalize that advantage.

Grandieri neutralized the Bears in the eighth, striking out pinch-hitter Pete Greskoff (looking) and Brain Kelaher (swinging) to end the inning.

In the ninth, Grandieri struggled early. He walked the first three hitters – all on close pitches and deep in the count – before hitting Nuzzo to score a run.

From there, Grandierir buckled down and did what he was brought in to do – save the game. He induced a grounder from Conor Reardon back to the mound that Grandieri turned into a double-play, pitcher to catcher to first base. Then, with runners on second and third and the lead only two runs, he got Papenhause to line out to right for the final out.

The come-from-behind win in game two may help mask the pain felt from dropping a one-run game in the opener. Brown needed one run in each of the first two innings to take game one, 2-1.

The Bears drew first blood with small ball in the opening innings.

In the first, Daniels reached when Armeny bobbled a grounder to first. Ryan Murphy followed with a double to right, moving Daniels to third. Nuzzo then grounded to third, but Daniels was out at home, Gordon to Cellucci. Murphy was able to advance to third on the play and the scored when Reardon singled.

In the bottom of the first, Penn left the bases loaded with no runs scored. With two outs, Armeny and Will David sandwiched singles around a walk to Gordon before Williams fanned to end the threat

Brown added the winning run in the second inning when Brian Kelaher scored thanks to a Daniels triple down the right field line.

That was all the offense Alex Silverman needed, as Brown’s starter lasted 6.1 innings, allowing only one run on eight hits. The only Penn run came in the fifth inning when Gordon tripled to score Armeny.

Rob Hallberg came in from Brown’s bullpen to record the final two outs – including a foul popup from Gordon with two runners on for the save. It was his second save of the season.

Todd Roth was the hard-luck loser for Penn in game one. He pitched all seven innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits while striking out three. This was his first loss of the season and his record now stands at 3-1.

After the weekend, Penn’s record stands at 7-9 with the suspended game against Yale still in question. As of Sunday, no official word had come down in regards to how the situation with game two will be handled. It is expected that the game will be resumed if it carries Ivy League Championship Implications. If not, it will go down as a tie.

The Quakers are back on the field on Tuesday against Big 5 rival, Saint Joseph’s. The two teams will also play again on Wednesday afternoon. Both games are at Meiklejohn Stadium.