ROCK HILL, S.C. - A complete game shutout from Dan Gautieri spurred the University of Pennsylvania baseball team to a 7-0 whitewash of the Winthrop Eagles on Saturday afternoon from the Winthrop Ballpark. Gautieri (2-0) spread eight hits over the nine-inning masterpiece, striking out seven batters with no walks. Offensively, eight of the nine Penn starters collected at least one base hit, chasing Eagles' starter Joey Strain from the contest after just 2.2 innings.
Brandon Engelhardt led Penn (4-4) with three hits on the afternoon, and it was his bloop single that landed just inside the left field line that started the game off for the Quakers. The junior advanced to second after a passed ball and then onto third as Ryan Deitrich floated a single into the outfield with one away. Joey Greco's deep fly to left field brought the speedy Engelhardt in for a quick 1-0 lead for Penn.
The Eagles had a base hit in each of the first two innings, but never advanced a runner past first. Penn closed down the second inning on a 6-4-3 double play to eliminate any threat.
The Quakers then blew the game open with a big five-run third inning. Mike Vilardo singled to start things off and moved to second after Deitrich walked. Greco followed with a single for his second RBI of the game and a 2-0 lead. The Quakers were nowhere near done. Austin Bossart made it on base thanks to an error by the Winthrop shortstop, and Spencer Branigan belted a two-run single straight back up the middle to make it 4-0 in favor of the Quakers. The Eagles were able to get the next two batters out and were nearly out of trouble until Ryan Mincher reignited the rally with a single into center field to score Bossart. That was followed by an Engelhardt single that upped the advantage to 6-0 as the Red and Blue batted around in the inning.
Penn added to the lead in the fifth inning, again with Engelhardt in the mix. Connor Betbeze walked to start the frame and landed on third after a wild pitch. Batting against a drawn-in defense that was looking to limit any further damage, Engelhardt smoked a hard grounder past the second baseman to make it a 7-0 contest.
Winthrop wasn't totally quiet at the plate throughout, but were unable to string together more than one hit for seemingly the whole contest. The Eagles didn't put a runner into scoring position until the fifth inning, and even that was aided in part by a Penn error. Two grounders promptly ended that scoring opportunity. A lead-off bunt single and two-out single to right had two men on for the Eagles in the sixth, but a routine fly to left again kept Winthrop off the board.
Gautieri then picked up steam in the seventh and eighth, not allowing a baserunner in either inning and striking out two in the eighth. Having so little trouble in the later innings, John Cole opted to let Gautieri work into the ninth with no assistance from the bullpen. Though Winthrop put two men on with one away, the sophomore remained calm, striking out pinch-hitter Nick Bateman before getting Mark Lowrie to ground softly into a game-ending fielder's choice.
Engelhardt led the Penn attack at the plate with a 3-for-4 day and a pair of RBI. Greco and Bossart were the other Quakers who had a multi-hit day, while Greco and Branigan each had two runs batted in.
Penn and Winthrop wrap up the three-game series tomorrow with a 1 p.m. first pitch from the Winthrop Ballpark.
Download: Penn-Winthrop Game Two.pdf