Baseball Clinches First Gehrig Division Title Since 2007 With 6-3 Win Over Columbia Sunday

Box Score (PDF)
NEW YORK, N.Y. -
The University of Pennsylvania baseball team captured its fourth all-time Ivy League Gehrig Division title - and first since 2007 - in Sunday's 6-3 win over Columbia in the one-game playoff held at Robertson Field. The Quakers used three home runs on the day and six strong innings from senior Jake Cousins to power past the Lions and advance to the best-of-three Ivy League Championship Series next weekend against Red Rolfe Division champion Yale.

GAME 43
Penn 6, Columbia 3
WP:
Jake Cousins (7-1) LP: Josh Simpson (4-3) SV: Adam Bleday (1)

BY THE NUMBERS
*4
- Sunday's win clinches the fourth all-time Ivy League Gehrig Division title and first since the 2007 season for Penn. The Quakers will attempt to win their first Ivy League title and advance to an NCAA Regional for the first time since 1995 next weekend against Yale in the Ivy League Championship Series.

*18 - Penn improves to 18-4 this season when leading after six innings after Sunday's 6-3 win.

*20 - Jake Cousins' seventh win this season gives him 20 career wins, moving him into a tie for third on Penn's all-time list (Craig Connolly, 1990). Penn is 8-2 in Cousins' ten starts this season.

*21 - Eight Penn starters in the lineup Sunday recorded at least one hit, improving the Quakers' record to 21-12 in games that at least five starters pick up at least one knock.

*23 - The Quakers won their 23rd game of the year Sunday, tying for the fifth-most wins in a single season (1974, 1990).

HOW IT HAPPENED
Penn continued its first-inning success this season on Sunday, jumping all over Columbia starter Josh Simpson for three runs on four hits through the first two innings. Andrew Murnane got things started with a one-out triple into the right field corner, before Tim Graul launched the very next pitch over the left field wall to get the Quakes on the board first. Matt O'Neill followed suit in the top of the second, driving a leadoff solo home run to left - his sixth of the season - to extend the lead to three in the early going.

Jake Cousins worked in and out of trouble to begin his tenth start of the season, allowing three hits but ultimately stranded two in scoring position with his first strikeout of the day. Cousins went on to retire eight of the next ten he faced while also picking up five strikeouts over that stretch.

The Lions were able to break through against Cousins in the home half of the fourth, as Shane Adams drove in Liam McGill with a two-out single to left to cut the Penn lead to two. The Quakers quickly responded with a two-spot in the top of the fifth, as Daniel Halevy led off with a triple to right before the Lions made their first call to the bullpen. Following the pitching change, Matt Tola drove the first pitch he saw off the wall in center for a double to score Halevy, and later came around to score on a sacrifice fly to left off the bat of Murnane to make it a 5-1 lead.

Columbia (18-23) got one back in the bottom of the fifth with a solo shot to right-center off the bat of Matt Karo, but Sean Phelan made it a four-run game once again with one swing, lifting a solo shot to dead center on the first pitch of the sixth inning. The Lions looked poised to answer in the bottom half of the sixth as the first two batters reached on consecutive base hits. Cousins battled back to induce an infield foul out before rolling a ground ball to Chris Adams who flipped to Tola at second and then threw on to Phelan at first to complete the inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

After hitting the first batter in the bottom of the seventh, Cousins was lifted for lefty Adam Bleday who came on for his first relief appearance of the season. Although Columbia brought in its third run on a wild pitch, Bleday rebounded to strike out reigning Ivy League Player of the Week Kyle Bartelman to elude further damage. Bleday was all the Quakers would need the rest of the way, as the lefty completed the nine-out save to lock down Penn's spot in the Ivy League Championship Series for the first time since 2007.

Cousins allowed just three runs on eight hits while striking out six en route to his seventh win of the season. Eight Penn starters in the lineup recorded at least one hit on the day, led by Tola with two in the division clinching win.

WHAT'S NEXT

Penn (23-20) moves on to its first Ivy League Championship Series since 2007 and will bid for its first title since 1995 against Red Rolfe Division champion Yale next weekend. The best-of-three series will begin Saturday, May 13 from Yale Field in New Haven, Conn. with first pitch of the doubleheader scheduled for 12 p.m.

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