Baseball Travels to La Salle on Wednesday

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The University of Pennsylvania baseball team (18-11, 5-3 Ivy) will step away from the Ivy title chase on Wednesday afternoon, traveling to the north side of Philadelphia to meet the La Salle Explorers (12-17) in a non-conference game at Hank DeVincent Field. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.

Last Time Out
Penn split both of its weekend series, winning one and losing one to Brown and Yale. The Quakers couldn’t get anything going in the first game of the weekend against the Bears. Brown took the lead on a two-run homer in the third inning and added on with a solo shot in the fifth. It wasn’t until the sixth inning that they really put the game away though. A Penn error opened the door for six runs as the Bears came away with a 9-0 win. The Red and Blue promptly fought back in the second game, chasing Brown starter Heath Mayo from the contest before he recorded an out. Scoring two runs in each of the first three innings, the Quakers took command with a quick 6-1 lead and held off a late charge for a 9-5 win.

On Sunday, Dan Gautieri threw a complete game four-hitter in the opener against Yale and the Quakers used their speed to get on base and break open what had been a scoreless tie through four innings. Penn scored two in the fifth, with one run coming off a wild pitch and the other scoring off a bunt single from Connor Betbeze. They followed with three more in the sixth inning with a RBI single from Rick Brebner and a throwing error from Yale’s David Moates that allowed two more to come around to score. The Bulldogs could never get anything going once faced with a deficit and Penn came away with a 5-1 victory. The roles were reversed in the second game though, with Yale starter David Hickey hurling a complete game four-hitter of his own. With 11 strikeouts and no walks, Penn’s offense sputtered and all it took was a single Bulldog run in the second inning to send Pat Bet to an undeserved, 1-0 loss.

Power Surge
Though the Quakers weren’t able to solve Hickey in the 1-0 weekend-ending loss, Ryan Deitrich continued to hit at a torrid pace with two hits in four plate appearances. The first of those hits was Deitrich’s 100th career hit in the Red and Blue. In addition, it extended his hitting streak to seven games and his streak of successfully reaching base to 16 games. La Salle will surely be focused on limiting him Wednesday, but it won’t be easy for the Explorers. In three career games against La Salle, Deitrich is 7-for-14 with six doubles and a home run, good for a slugging percentage of 1.556.

In Pursuit of 20 Wins
In 134 years of Penn baseball, 24 teams have amassed at least 20 wins in a season (granted, some seasons didn’t even feature a 20-game schedule). The feat was last accomplished by the Quakers in 2010, a season in which the Red and Blue finished 21-20 and in second place in the Lou Gehrig Division. At 18-11 this season, the 2013 edition of the Penn Quakers are looking to become the next squad to etch their names onto that list. If the team can reach 20 wins this weekend when they host Princeton in a four-game set, they would become the fastest team to 20 wins by calendar date since the 1989 team that won its 20th game of the season on April 12, part of a 20-4 start to the year by the team that set a school record with 29 wins.

About La Salle
After defeating Lafayette in a non-conference game on Tuesday afternoon, La Salle enters the contest at 12-17 and winners of three of its last four after taking two of three from Temple over the weekend. The Explorers used a bullpen-by-committee approach on Tuesday, with five pitchers seeing time on the mound in the 9-6 takedown of Lafayette. Penn will likely see the same treatment, with La Salle in the mix in the Atlantic 10 and a big weekend series with Saint Joseph’s upcoming.

Offensively, Kevin Baron has started every game at shortstop and leads the team with a .343 average. Mark Williams plays first and bats .333 with eight extra-base hits and a .508 slugging percentage. The biggest bat on the team might belong to Ryan Welling, who has three of La Salle’s five home runs, but also leads the team with 29 strikeouts. Lead-off man Dan Klem provides the most consistent speed threat in the Explorers’ batting order, with four stolen bases in six attempts.