Baseball Splits with Harvard, Smith's Homer Lifts Penn in Game 2

Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score

PHILADELPHIA – Returning to Ivy League play Saturday, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team spilt its doubleheader with Harvard on Saturday at Meiklejohn Stadium. The Crimson took Game 1, 4-2, while the Quakers won the nightcap, 6-4. Penn won Game 2 behind Jim Birmingham’s seven innings of no-hit ball and Jarron Smith three-run blast in the seventh.

Penn (8-11, 2-4 Ivy) plated the first run in Game 1 on a single to right field by Alex Nwaka that scored Joey Boaen, who reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second. The Quakers starting pitcher, Joe Thornton (0-2) was dominant early on. After allowing a lead off single, Thornton retired the next 10 batters in order, while striking out five.

The Crimson (5-9, 1-1 Ivy) took the lead with a three-run fourth inning. With one out, Harvard’s Steffan Wilson hammered a line drive home run just over the left field fence. After Thornton got the second out, the Crimson strung together back-to-back doubles and a single to score two more run and take a 3-1 lead.

In the bottom half of the fourth, the Quakers cut the deficit to 4-2 on Kyle Armeny’s third homer of the season. Harvard wasted no time getting the run back as Max Warren led off the fifth with a base hit and advanced to second as Andrew Casey was hit by a pitch from Thornton. Warren tagged up on a fly ball to center and scored and a sacrifice fly to left by Brendan Byrne.

Harvard starter Max Perlman (2-1) scattered four hits over seven innings in the complete game effort.

Penn got the tying run to the plate in the seventh after Tim May singled with one out, but Boaen grounded into a game-ending double play.

In the nightcap, the bottom of the Quakers lineup got things going in the third. Matt Toffaletti reached on a lead off single to right. Fellow freshman Steve Gable laced a double down the right field line to bring Toffaletti around from first to score. Smith laid down a beautiful bunt to third and beat it out. With runners on the corners, Josh Corn, whose 13-game hitting streak came to a halt in Game 1, singled to right field, scoring Gable. Smith was thrown out at third trying to go from first to third. Corn was then picked off first and Armeny struck out to end the inning.

Both teams scored single runs in the fourth to make the score 3-1. In the top of the fifth, Penn starter Birmingham (1-1)issued three walks to load the bases. A sacrifice fly to right by Byrne scored Matt Kramer. With runners on first and third, Jeff Stoeckel stole second and on the through down to second, Ben Rabinowitz scored from third to tie the score, 3-3.

The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the seventh when Smith blasted a three-run home run to left field to put the Quakers back on top, 6-3.

Birmingham threw seven solid innings for the Red and Blue. Despite six walks, he left the game without giving up a hit. After a shaky fifth inning, Birmingham settled down and retired six of the seven final batters he faced.

Andy Console came in to pitch the eighth and retired the first two batters he faced before Wilson broke up the no hitter with a single to left center. More importantly, Console got Matt Rogers to fly out to right to retire the side. Console pitched the ninth as well and despite one unearned run to make the score 6-4, got out of the inning to close the game and pick up his first save this season.

Sunday, Penn closes out its home stand by hosting Dartmouth in a doubleheader at11:30 a.m.