PHILADELPHIA - Fresh off a four game sweep over the weekend, Penn looks continue its winning ways as the team travels to take on Villanova, Wednesday at 3 p.m.
The Quakers sit at 7-5 right now, matching their best start to a season since head coach John Cole took over the program in 2006. Villanova is sitting pretty with a 14-3 overall mark, having won seven of its last eight.
The Quakers have split their last two meetings with the Wildcats, with the home team winning each time. Two years ago Villanova won it 16-2, however last season was a different story as Penn held the Wildcats scoreless through the first six innings on the way to a 10-5 win.
Following the Quakers
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Last Time Out: Get Out the Brooms
Penn swept all four games last weekend, giving the team its longest win streak since taking five in a row in 2008. Pitching was the Quakers calling card, as each starting pitcher at least 6.0 innings while giving up one earned run or less. Sophomore Vince Voiro got the start in the opening game and pitched solid, however the Red and Blue were down 1-0 going into the bottom of the seventh. Adrian Lorenzo hit a game-tying single and then scored the game-winning run as Penn got the 2-1 win. The victory was the catalyst the team needed as they wouldn't trail again in the weekend, winning the final three games 4-2, 8-0 and 6-1.
Pitching By Committee
In keeping with tradition, Penn will most likely use a variety of pitchers on Wednesday against Villanova. Last week against Temple, nine different pitchers saw action on the mound. In 2009 at least five pitchers saw action in each of the Quakers' three Big 5 games.
Scouting The Wildcats
Hitting: Villanova is hitting an impressive .334 on the season, with two players hitting over .500. Senior Justin Bencsko is a batting a BIG EAST-leading .529, while junior Matt Szczur is right behind him with a .522 clip. Szczur leads the team with 35 hits and has four doubles, one home run and 13 RBI. Bencsko, meanwhile, has 27 hits, 24 runs scored and leads the BIG EAST with 17 stolen bases on 18 attempts. As a team, Villanova has relied on the small ball, stealing 59 bases (3.47/G) en route to scoring 8.47 runs per game. They also hit just over two doubles per game, but have only three home runs on the year.
Pitching: The Wildcats have a dynamic duo in Kyle Helisek and Brian Streilein on the mound. Helisek is 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA and 13 strikeouts. He has thrown 20.2 innings and has started four games for Villanova. Streilein is 2-0 in four starts, throwing a team-high 27.1 innings. He has 33 strikeouts to just eight walks and a 2.30 ERA on the season. The team as a whole has a 3.42 ERA and gives up just 4.35 runs per game.
Over the weekend, Penn's four starters accounted for 27.0 of a possible 32.0 innings pitched. Paul Cusick, Chris McNulty, Todd Roth all earned victories, while Vince Voiro got the no decision as the four combined to give up two earned runs and strike out 22 batters.
Senior hurler Reid Terry extended his scoreless innings streak to 9.0 with two appearances over the weekend. Terry pitched the eighth in Penn's 2-1 come-from-behind win to earn his second victory of the year. Opponents are hitting just .161 against the right hander.
Big 5 Streak
After going 3-0 in the Big 5 last year, Penn opened up the 2010 season with a 12-6 victory over Temple. The four straight wins is the longest active streak of any team in the Big 5.
Three Times The Fun
First baseman Spencer Branigan has a team-high three triples in 12 games this year. It's the most by Quaker since Joey Boaen had three in 2006.
Passing the Century Mark
Senior William Gordon recently drove in the 100th RBI of his career. He now has 104 in his career, tops among active Penn hitters. Fellow classmate Tom Grandieri also recorded the 100th hit of his career this year. Grandieri transferred to Penn from Villanova following his freshman campaign.
Off The Wall
Last season Penn hit a school record 104 doubles (2.5/G) and appear to be on the same pace again this year, as the Quakers have 29 doubles (2.4/G) through 12 games. Williams, Branigan, Grandieri and Gordon are all tied for the team lead with five doubles, as nine different players have one hit one this season.