PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers seek their second Lou Gehrig division crown since 2007 when they matchup with first place Columbia at home for a doubleheader on Friday and then travel up to New York City on Saturday for two more. Both doubleheaders get underway at noon.
The Quakers have won four of five and come into the weekend with a 20-17 overall record and 9-7 mark in the Ivy League. They have scored at least six runs in each of their last ten games and surpassed ten runs six times during that span. Columbia has also won four of five, including a sweep of Fordham on Wednesday. The Lions are 22-18 on the season and 9-5 in the Ivy League, holding a two-game lead on Penn in the Ivies.
Last Time Out: Taming The Tigers
The Red and Blue won three of four games against Princeton over the weekend, outscoring the Tigers 42-19 overall and 22-4 in a two-game sweep on Sunday. The Quakers lone loss came in a 7-8 decision, in which Penn scored four runs in the final two innings to tie the game at seven, before a run in the bottom of the seventh gave Princeton the walk-off win. Senior Todd Roth, sophomore Chris McNulty an freshman John Beasley all earned wins on the weekend, while senior Steve Gable went 10-for-15 (.667) with five doubles, six RBI and a .722 on base percentage. Right fielder Tom Grandieri also hit .667 (12-for-18), and added two home runs and six RBI.
Taking The Title
Penn sits two games back of Columbia going into the four game series. Should the Red and Blue take three of four from the Lions, it would force a one game playoff to be played at Meiklejohn Stadium sometime next week. A sweep by the Quakers would earn them the division crown outright and earn them a spot in Ivy League Baseball Championship, played next weekend.
Following The Red And Blue
Fans of the Quakers can follow all the action via live stats (click here). A free radio broadcast of Friday's doubleheader will also be available as well (click here). Columbia will also provide a free radio broadcast of both games on Saturday (click here)
On The Mound
Following a 3-1 weekend Penn will employ the same four starters this Friday and Saturday. Sophomore Vince Voiro will most likely start the first game on Friday, while Todd Roth will get the ball to begin the second game. Voiro is 3-1 on the season and boasts a 4.86 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 17 walks. Roth, meanwhile, has been great at home this year, boasting a 2-1 record with team-leading 3.25 ERA in four starts and 27.2 innings of work. On Saturday, sophomore Chris McNulty and freshman John Beasley will take the hill. McNulty is a perfect 2-0 at home his year with 17 strikeouts and seven walks in 20.2 innings of work. Beasley is 1-0 in six appearances at Meiklejohn Stadium with a 2.38 ERA in 11.1 innings with seven strikeouts.
Scouting The Lions
Hitting: Columbia is third in the Ivy League, batting an even .300 as a team. The team has five players hitting at least .310 this season and are also slugging .466 collectively. Freshman Dario Pizzano has be a revelation this season, batting .336 with 40 hits, 30 runs, 25 RBI, ten doubles and nine home runs while slugging .697. Sophomore Jon Eisen leads the team with a .367 average at the top of the lineup and also leads the team with 51 hits, 32 runs and is second on the team with nine stolen bases. Columbia has 37 home runs, but also has stolen and Ivy-high 61 bases this season, 23 in league play.
Pitching: The Lions have four different pitchers with three victories on the season and an ERA under 5.80, in sophomore Pat Lowery (3.86), junior Don Bracey (4.09), junior Geoff Whitaker (4.76) and freshman Tim Giel (5.57). Lowery has a 3-3 record and has struck out 35 batters and walked just ten in 49.0 innings of work. As a team, Columbia has walked just 100 batters on the season (2.5 per game). Among starters, Whitaker has walked just eight with striking out 25, while Bracey has given just nine free passes to 47 strikeouts in 50.2 innings of work.
Between contests on Friday, head coach John Cole will recognize his seven seniors. Five of the seniors have been four year contributors in helping the Quakers back to prominence within the Ivy League. Seniors Steve Gable, William Gordon, Todd Roth, Robbie Seymour and Reid Terry have spent four seasons at Meiklejohn Stadium, while Tom Grandieri has been a Penn fixture for three seasons and Kyle Olson joined the team in 2010. In the three seasons prior to their arrival, the Quakers didn't win more than 12 games in a season. Since they got on campus, this group has won 72 games, including a pair of 20 win seasons.
Home Sweet Home
Penn is a tidy 13-6 at Meiklejohn Stadium this season and is hitting .341 in its friendly confines. In 19 games the Quakers have 20 home runs, 49 doubles and seven triples for a .534 slugging percentage. Junior Dan Williams is hitting .507 at home with 35 hits, while fellow classmate Will Davis is batting .386 with seven home runs and 25 RBI. Opponents are batting just .264 as Quaker hurlers have a collective 4.30 ERA with 123 strikeouts (6.96 per nine innings).
Run Danny Run
Dan Williams has scored 48 times this season, tied for the second highest single-season total in school history. His total is also tied for 10th in Ivy League single-season history, just six short of matching the record of 54 set by Matt Buckmiller of Columbia in 2002.
Will Davis has 12 home runs this season, tied for the most by a Quaker in a single season, matching Tom Olszak's mark set it 1978. Davis also has seven dingers in league play, just one shot of tying the Ivy record.
Steve Gable has been one of the Quaker's most consistent hitters in Ivy play recently. The second baseman is in the midst of a six-game hit streak over the last two weekends of league action. He's had four multi-hit games and is batting .467 (14-for-30) with five doubles and nine RBI during that span.
Ivy Record Watch
With his three appearances last weekend, Reid Terry now has 21 on the season and 69 in his career. The total puts him in a tie for first place in Ivy League history for appearances by a pitcher.
See The Ball, Hit The Ball
Tom Grandieri has hit the ball to the tune of a .410 average and 66 hits this season. Should be maintain that average he will be the first Quaker since Chris May to bat over .400, while his 66 hits are the second highest total in school history. He also has 18 doubles, good for the fourth highest total in Penn history, to go along with seven home runs and a team-high 42 RBI.
One strikeout this weekend will give senior Todd Roth the 200th K of his four-year career. He will become the first pitcher since Craig Connelly in 1990 to strikeout 200 career batters. His 15 wins are also the most by a Penn hurler since Dan Galles and Ed Haughrey each finish their careers with 19 in 1995.