Philadelphia - With two runners in scoring position and two outs on the board, Jarron Smith registered a pinch-hit walk-off infield hit to score classmate Alex Nwaka who came in to pinch run earlier in the inning. The win, the Red and Blue's third-straight, propels them into the semifinals of the 13th Annual Liberty Bell Classic sponsored by the Philadelphia Phillies.
After Penn (3-9) gave up a pair of unearned runs in the top of the sixth, senior right-handers Dan Finkelstein and Remington Chin were called upon to shut down Lafayette's offense (7-8). All the duo did was sit down 12 Leopards in a row, not allowing a base runner in the final four innings. This effort allowed Penn to move in for the strike and it came in the bottom of the first and only extra inning. Kyle Armeny drew a walk and was lifted for the fleet-footed Nwaka. Power hitter Nate Moffie sacrificed his at bat by bunting Nwaka over to second. Matt Horn followed with a sharply hit ball to the shortstop Ian Law. A bad bounce caught Law off guard and Horn reached safely, advancing Nwaka to third base. Smith's number was called, needing only a deep fly ball to end the game. He did one better but smacking a hit off the pitcher and just out of reach of the second baseman to score Nwaka and end the game.
Despite the tightly contested game, it seemed as if the Quakers' entire pitching staff had a part in today's win as five hurlers took to the mound against the Leopards. The theme was evident. Start off with fresh arms of three rookies and close out with the experience of a pair of seniors. Andy Console earned the start, giving up just two hits in two innings of work. Nick Francona stepped up in the third and worked two scoreless innings, giving up three hits and fanning one batter. Steven Schwartz followed with two innings of solid pitching, striking out a pair of batters on 35 pitches. Finkelstein worked a perfect seventh, throwing only eight pitches. Chin (1-0), who picked up his first win of the year, calmly took over and threw ground-ball pitch after ground-ball pitch. The hardest hit ball against Chin was a sharp liner back to the mound that Chin stabbed out of the air and caught in his throwing hand to end the inning.
Offensively, Armeny was the Quakers' offense, doubling down the left field line to score J.T. Hutchinson, who had reached on a fielding error, and Evan Sobel, who had started the inning off with a single to right center field. Hutchinson and Graves were two of three Quakers to record multiple hits, each going 2-for-4 at the plate. Bryan Graves also went 2-for-4 with a pair of base knocks.
Law, Adam Bucci and Frank Cortazar led Lafayette with two hits apiece. The Leopards also used five pitchers in today's game as the staff gave up three runs, two earned on 12 hits. John Fugett (1-1)sufferedthe loss.
Penn opens Ivy League play this weekend with a pair of double-headers against Columbia. Friday's twin bill in New York City gets underway at 11:30 a.m., as does the home double-header with the Lions on March 26. For updates on schedule changes due to weather and to listen to Saturday's games live, stay tuned to www.pennathletics.com.
Written by Mat Kanan, associate director of athletic communications