PHILADELPHIA - Penn baseball welcomes in the La Salle Explorers to Meiklejohn Stadium on Wednesday afternoon for a 3 p.m., non-league tilt. La Salle will be looking to end a six-game slide that has dropped them under .500 and seen the team lose four one-run ballgames over that stretch. The Quakers have played a role in the Explorers' current losing streak, having claimed a 9-4 win last Tuesday in the semifinals of the Liberty Bell Classic. Penn enters as winners of two straight and 10 of its last 14 overall.
Last Time Out
After a two-game sweep at the hands of Dartmouth on Saturday, Penn avoided what could have been a disastrous weekend by coming back strong on Sunday to gather two wins over Harvard, salvaging a 2-2 record for the road trip and staying in the thick of the Gehrig Division race. Cody Thomson shut down the Crimson in the first game, firing a complete-game shutout to spur Penn to a 7-0 victory. With seven errors in the second game of the doubleheader, Harvard gave the Red and Blue a myriad of opportunities and the Quakers were happy to take advantage of the miscues, scoring eight runs (only three earned) en route to an 8-5 win.
Following the Action
Live stats for Wednesday afternoon's contest can be viewed here, and be sure to follow @pennbaseball for in-game updates and pictures from around the diamond. As always, the Penn Sports Network will offer streaming audio of the game.
About the Explorers
Part of the reason for La Salle's recent swoon has been a lack of run support for its pitchers. The Explorers have managed just 16 runs in the last six games, scoring only one run on three occasions. In last week's match-up with the Quakers, La Salle managed only two runs through the first eight innings, tacking on another pair in the ninth after the outcome had been all but decided.
Offense: Lead-off hitter Brendan Norton enters Wednesday hitting .275 for the year but is second in the nation with 42 walks, bumping his on-base pct. up to a commendable .490. He leads the squad with seven stolen bases. Adam Kammler has started only 21 of the team's 31 games, but has some bruises to show for his time in the line-up, ranking fifth in the country in hit by pitches, and matches Norton with an OBP of .490. Jeff Flax is the leading hitter in the batting order with a .306 average, but only four hits are for extra bases. Joe Bennie supplies some pop from the bottom of the order with five doubles, two triples and four home runs, plus a team-leading slugging pct. of .478.
Pitching: Kevin Christy and Eric Van Wyk have eight starts apiece but will be saved for the weekend, opening the door for a number of other pitchers to make an appearance on Wednesday. Mark Williams started the last time Penn and La Salle met, but he was lifted after two innings. Shane Petrellis and Ryan Donahue also pitched against the Quakers last week and could see some time on the hill. La Salle ranks 14th in the country with a 2.95 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Rick Brebner has had a torrid stretch of five games, beginning with last Tuesday's win over La Salle. The sophomore utility infielder started it off that day with a 2-for-4 game that included a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. He collected three more hits at Dartmouth on Saturday before going off against Harvard pitching to close out the weekend. Against the Crimson, Brebner went 4-for-8 along with a base on balls, scoring every time he reached base. In the past week, he has raised his batting average from .257 to .304.
At 5-3 in the Ivy League, Penn is currently two games back of Cornell in the division but begins its all-important stretch run this weekend. After facing La Salle, 12 of the final 13 games in the regular season will be against the rest of the Gehrig Division, beginning with a four-game series at Princeton this weekend. The Tigers come into Saturday with a 6-2 mark in the Ivies and will host Penn for a pair of doubleheaders beginning at 12 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.