Baseball Wraps Up Cross-Divisional Play at Brown and Yale

Follow @PennBaseball

Brown: Live Stats

Yale: Audio / Live Stats

After a pair of difficult losses early in the week, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team jumps back into Ivy League play this weekend, looking to halt a two-game slide and maintain at least a share of the Lou Gehrig Division lead. The Quakers (16-9, 3-1 Ivy) open the weekend on Saturday at Brown (2-16, 0-4 Ivy), before playing two with Yale (5-15, 2-2 Ivy) on Sunday. Each twinbill is set for a 12 p.m. start.

Last Time Out
Penn opened Ivy League play by gutting out a pair of 3-2 wins over prohibitive Red Rolfe Division favorite Dartmouth last Saturday. Connor Cuff threw a complete game in the opener, while Jeff McGarry and John Beasley combined to quiet an explosive Big Green offense in the day’s second game. On Sunday, the Quakers their unbeaten run in Ivy League play, knocking off Harvard by a score of 4-1 in the opener of a scheduled doubleheader. And then the rains came. Forced to postpone the second game until Monday with the score level at 3-3 through seven innings, the Quakers couldn’t find any offense on Monday afternoon and fell to the Crimson, 6-3. The next day, facing Villanova in a Liberty Bell Classic semifinal, the Red and Blue fell behind early in the contest and couldn’t climb all the way back, falling 5-4 to the Wildcats.

The Two Connors
In a season that has seen numerous honors coming in for the Quakers, sophomores Connor Betbeze and Connor Cuff were the latest pair to garner attention from the Ivy League. For his complete game victory over the Big Green, Cuff was awarded the Ivy League Pitcher of the Week. Taking over in left field on Sunday and Monday against Harvard, Betbeze batted 6-for-7 out of the lead-off spot and added a pair of stolen bases. His RBI single on Sunday provided the Red and Blue with the winning runs in their 4-1 win, and he collected a hit in each of his five plate appearances in the second matchup with the Crimson. With the season now a month old, here is a rundown of all the Quakers to earn a weekly award:

Big 5 Awards
March 5 –
Ryan Deitrich (Player of the Week)
March 12 – Dan Gautieri (Pitcher of the Week)
March 26 – Mike Vilardo (Player of the Week)

Ivy League Awards

March 5 –
Mike Vilardo (Rookie of the Week)
March 12 – Pat Bet (Rookie of the Week); Austin Bossart (Player of the Week); Dan Gautieri (co-Pitcher of the Week)
March 26 – Mike Vilardo (Player of the Week, co-Rookie of the Week)
April 2 – Connor Betbeze (Rookie of the Week); Connor Cuff (Pitcher of the Week)

Deitrich Among Nation’s Best
Through all games ending Sunday, Ryan Deitrich was near the top in a number of hitting categories. The senior outfielder started the week with a batting average of .444, putting him ninth in the nation. Perhaps more impressively is his plate discipline, which has allowed him to draw 16 base on balls this year and post an on-base pct. of .544 before Tuesday’s game with Villanova. That number is good for third in all of Division I, trailing only Mike Papi of Virginia (.580) and Landon Lassiter of North Carolina (.553), both of whom have fewer plate appearances than Deitrich. The Penn tri-captain is much more than just a singles hitter, as 12 of his 39 hits this year have gone for extra bases. With a slugging pct. of .679, he is tied for 28th in the country in that statistic as well. Not surprisingly, he leads the Ivy League in both batting average and OBP, and is second in slugging pct. behind only Jeff Keller of Dartmouth.

Senior Moments
After starting the year as a situational reliever, senior John Beasley has become one of the go-to arms out of the bullpen in the past two weeks. Second on the team with 10 appearances behind only Ronnie Glenn, none of Beasley’s first five outings this season lasted longer than one inning. But since throwing 1.2 innings against Lafayette on March 24, his last four appearances have each lasted 2.0 innings or longer. In that time, he’s lowered his ERA from 6.75 to 2.08, picked up a win against Dartmouth and struck out seven hitters over 10.1 innings of work.

On a Tear
Vilardo goes into this weekend currently on an 11-game hitting streak. Over that stretch, the second baseman is batting 19-for-44 (.432) and has five multi-hit games, including a 4-for-5 showing with a home run in a game at Lafayette (March 23). A total of eight of those 19 hits have been for extra bases, helping Vilardo to 13 doubles this season, a number that puts him in a tie for fifth place in all of Division I. Within the Ivy League, Vilardo leads the Ancient Eight with 24 runs batted in this season, while he ranks eighth in batting average (.350) and fourth in slugging pct. (.553).

About Brown
Coming in on an overall six-game losing streak, Brown put just a single run on the board in each of its first four Ivy League games last weekend and have scored a grand total of 40 runs in 18 games this season. Junior Daniel Massey leads the offense with a .375 batting average along with two doubles and a pair of home runs. Will Marcal joins him in playing in every contest, putting together a .319 average. Beyond that, the offensive numbers for the Bears go progressively downhill, as they are batting just .218 as a team.

Heath Mayo and David St. Lawrence appear to be the likely starters for Brown, as that duo started the two Saturday games last weekend at Cornell. Though they are a combined 0-6 in eight total appearances this year, part of those struggles can be pinned on an offense that hasn’t provided any run support throughout the season. Will Lacker leads the team with an ERA of 1.86, while Kevin Guthrie is right behind him with an ERA of 3.68 in a team-high eight appearances.

About Yale
Yale comes in on a three-game winning streak and will host Columbia for a pair of games on Saturday before welcoming in the Quakers on Sunday. Just like Penn, the Bulldogs had one game of a doubleheader on Sunday rained out. When play resumed on Monday, Yale downed Cornell by a score of 4-2, then notched wins over Sacred Heart and Connecticut in two more mid-week contests.

Junior first baseman Jacob Hunter is one of only two players to have appeared in all 20 games for the Bulldogs and is hitting at a .364 clip and slugging a team-high .470 with four doubles and a home run. Green Campbell leads the team with a .405 average in 13 starts and has is 4-for-4 in the stolen base department. David Toups is the only Yale player to start every game and has a team-high 12 runs batted in.

If the Bulldogs keep their rotation in the same order as on the first Ivy League weekend, Penn would be in line to face Ben Joseph (1-1, 6.63 ERA) and Michael Coleman (1-3, 4.12 ERA). Each has three starts on the season. Joseph has struck out 19 batters in 19.0 innings of work, but has also walked 15. Coleman is a much more controlled pitcher, striking out only nine in 24.0 innings on the bump, but walking just seven.