PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers take a break from their Ivy League schedule to travel to La Salle on Wednesday for a battle with the Explorers, beginning at 3 p.m.
Penn is 15-12 after going 2-2 on the weekend while La Salle comes into the game riding a three-game win streak to improve their record to 18-13. The two teams met two weeks ago at Meiklejohn Stadium and the Explorers came away with the 6-4 win. In that contest La Salle scored five times in the first three innings and Penn fought back to get within one at 5-4 but couldn't overcome the early deficit.
Last Time Out: An Even Split
The Red and Blue went 2-2 in Ivy action last weekend, winning the first game each day and losing consecutive nightcaps. Penn beat Yale 2-0 to open the weekend behind a seven-hit shutout from the combo of senior Paul Cusick and freshman Cody Thomson, as Cusick went eight innings with 11 strikeouts and Thomson went the final two to get the win. However, Penn lost the second game 13-6. On Sunday the Quaker offense exploded for 14 runs against Brown to support junior Vince Voiro in a 14-5 win. In the second game, sophomore John Beasley had the best start of his young career, going 7.0 innings with six strikeouts and two earned runs. The Penn offense struggled to support the righty scoring once in the seventh and the eighth to tie up the game. However, in the bottom of the eighth the Bears scored a pair of runs and held off the Red and Blue in the top of the ninth to earn the 4-2 victory.
Following the Red and Blue
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Scouting the Quakers
Penn has one of the most potent offenses in the league, ranking third in batting average (.287) and second in slugging percentage (.427) and on-base percentage (.375). The Red and Blue also lead the league with 21 home runs - five more than second place Cornell - and are second in doubles with 52. Five Quakers are now hitting over .300 on the season led by senior Jeremy Maas and his .394 average. He also leads the team in slugging (.606), on-base percentage (.463), hits (43), runs (25), home runs (5), steals (9). Junior Derek Vigoa is now second on the team in hitting with a .313 average. The shortstop has 31 hits, 16 runs, a team-high 21 RBI and has only struck out six times in 99 at-bats this season, tops in the Ivy League. Freshman Brandon Engelhardt (.308), Greg Zebrack (.308) and Will Davis (.308) are also hitting over .300 this year.
On the Mound
The Red and Blue have employed a pitcher by committee strategy for their midweek games this year. In the team's previous meeting with La Salle, Penn used five different pitchers who each went at least 1.0 inning. The Quakers have seven pitchers who have thrown at least 18 innings this season and four have an ERA under 4.00. Among relievers, freshman Cody Thomson has a 3.16 ERA with 19 strikeouts and four walks in 25.2 innings and junior Patrick Brennan is close behind him with a 4.82 ERA in 18.2 innings. He also has 12 strikeouts compared to just two walks this season. As a team, the Quakers have struck out the most batters in the Ivy League and walked the second fewest, despite having pitched more innings than any other club.
Scouting the Explorers
Hitting: La Salle is hitting .281 as a team this year while slugging .381 with an on-base percentage of .344. In a weekend sweep of Temple, the team scored at least eight runs in all three games and are averaging 5.2 runs per game for the year. The Explorers have a pair of hitters who are batting over .300 in Marc Schoch and Jeff Flax. Schoch is batting .351 and has 39 hits, 11 doubles and 19 RBI while Flax leads the team with 45 hits and 23 RBI, nine doubles and a home run. The team has 64 doubles on the year but only eight home runs and also has walked just 88 times in 13 games. Schoch and Flax have combined for just five walks in 243 at-bats this season and have on-base percentages of .365 and .362.
Pitching: Last time the two teams face each other, La Salle threw five pitchers to face Penn hitters. In that game, Dominic Sgroi earned his first win of the year for pitching 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Overall eight different players have won at least two games for the Explorers. Relievers Kevin Christy and Pat Christensen were key in the team's matchup, as Christy went 1.2 innings allowing just one hit and striking out one and Christensen scattered two hits over the last two innings of play to earn the save. He leads the team with eight saves on the year and had a paltry 1.78 ERA in 25.1 innings of work.
Trending: Last 10 Games
Senior catcher Will Davis is hitting .459 over his last ten games with a .892 slugging percentage and .565 on-base percentage. Over that span he is leading the team with 16 runs, seven doubles, three home runs and is second with 12 RBI. He has also been stead behind the plate, throwing out eight potential base stealers during that span. Classmate Paul Cusick has also been lights out during that span, tossing 16.0 straight scoreless innings. In three appearances he has 25 strikeouts, eight walks and allowed just seven singles and one double.
Trending: Last 5 Games
The Quakers went 3-2 last week, hitting .289 as a team. Greg Zebrack went 8-for-16 and slugged .938 with a team-best six RBI over that span. He also walked six times for an impressive .636 on-base percentage. Junior Derek Vigoa matched Zebrack with six RBI and finished with a .389 average. He finished 7-for -18 without a strikeout on the week.