Baseball Splits With Norfolk St. on Sunday

Penn 14 - Norfolk 5

Norfolk 2 - Penn 1

Norfolk, Va. - The Quakers put up their highest scoring output of the season with a 14-5 win in the first game of the doubleheader but they struggled to plate a run in the second game as they dropped a 2-1 contest to split with Norfolk St. on Sunday.

If Penn's pitching was the story of Saturday's action, Sunday's first game was about emergence of a Red and Blue offense which had only scored more than four runs once in the past eight games. The Quakers surpassed that total after six innings of action and finished with the 14-6 blowout of Norfolk St.

The second game of the doubleheader was a pitcher's duel as senior Paul Cusick and Norfolk's Raymond Morton both went the distance for their squads in a game which was won by the Spartans on an RBI single with the bases loaded and two down in the bottom of the seventh.

It was a team-wide effort in the first game, as three different players had three-hit games and seven totaled at least one hit and one RBI. Senior Jeremy Maas was right at the center of it, belting a pair of home runs from the third spot in the lineup and finishing 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI. Freshman Brandon Engelhardt and senior Dan Williams also finished with three hits in the game.

Freshman Matt Gotschall got the start and after threatening in the top of the first the Quaker offense spotted the southpaw a one-run cushion going into the bottom of the second inning. Gotschall was unable to hold the lead and Norfolk St. tacked on four runs for the 4-1 lead. The freshman got through the inning and pitched into the fourth before being relieved by junior Pat Brennan.

The Red and Blue closed the three-run gap to 4-3 in the fifth. Williams led off with a single and Maas followed with a shot over the fence in left field, his third of the season.

Penn broke though an inning later on a one-out double by Williams. Engelhardt and junior Derek Vigoa scored on the play putting the visiting in front for good, 5-4. By the time the inning finished, the Quakers had sent nine men to the plate and opened up an 8-4 lead.

A run in the bottom of the frame made it a three-run game, but the three more runs in the seventh and two in the eighth put the Red and Blue firmly in front, 13-4. Maas pushed the score to 14-4 with a solo shot to lead off the ninth and Brennan allowed one run in the bottom of the inning for the 14-5 final. Brennan finished with 5.1 strong innings of relief, allowing just two runs while striking out a pair of batters.

In the second game Norfolk St. got to Cusick early, as James Taylor led off the bottom of the first with a single through the right side. He advanced to second on a groundout and came around to score on another single through the right side.

Trailing 1-0, Penn mounted a scoring threat in the third as Vigoa singled to lead off the inning. He was thrown out stealing, but Adrian Lorenzo and Engelhardt had back-to-back singles, to put runners on first and second. However, a fly out to center and a grounder to second ended the threat.

Cusick kept his team in the game, getting out of a jam in the fourth with consecutive strikeouts and again in the fifth after Lorenzo threw out a runner at home trying to score from second. The offense, meanwhile, put runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth but were unable to come up with the tying run.

With the Quakers down to their final three outs, Vigoa led off the top of the seventh with a single. Lorenzo followed with a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner and Vigoa then took third on a wild pitch to Engelhardt. Engelhardt came through once again for the Red and Blue with a single to center, scoring Vigoa and tying the game 1-1. Fly outs by Williams and Maas ended the inning.

Norfolk responded with a single lead off the last of the seventh. The Spartans' Ryan Montgomery laid down a sacrifice bunt and catcher Will Davis fielded the ball cleanly but his throw to first was off as both runners advanced to second and third. Cusick responded with a groundout to second and a strikeout to leave Penn one out from taking the game to extra innings. He intentionally walked Brandon Hairston to load the bases, but the strategy didn't pay off as a single up the middle ended it.

Penn won three of their four games against Norfolk St. over the weekend to improve their record to 6-8 overall. The Quakers return to the field on Wednesday for their home opener against Villanova at 3 p.m.