Lafayette Rallies to Defeat Baseball, 6-5

Penn vs Lafayette Box Score

PHILADELPHIA – After two home runs in the first three innings gave Penn a 4-0 lead, the Quakers watched the lead evaporate over the game’s final six innings as Lafayette scored six unanswered runs to win the game, 6-5, and advance in the 2008 Liberty Bell Classic at Meiklejohn Stadium on Tuesday.

Penn held a 5-1 lead after six innings, but watched as the Leopards put five runs on the board in the seventh and eighth innings to take the only lead they would need.

The eighth inning proved to be the most devastating for the Red and Blue.

William Gordon came in from third base to pitch and promptly struck out Daniel Bierce. Catcher Mike Mariano was unable to hold on to the third strike and Bierce reached first as a result of the passed ball. After Gordon retired Brad Weiss with a flyout to right, Bierce advanced to third when Mariano committed his second passed ball of the inning and compounded matters with an overthrown to second.

Lafayette looked to play small-ball in the next at-bat. Rob Frojo attempted squeeze bunt, but Bierce was out at home, Gordon to Mariano. Frojo, having reached on the fielder’s choice, stole second. Gordon then hit Tom Hayes and walked Chris Luick to load the bases.

Head coach John Cole went to the bullpen and brought in Reid Terry, who proceeded to walk Tom Ambrosole to bring Lafayette within one. With the bases still loaded, A.J. Pissari – who came in the inning before as a defensive replacement blooped a single over the shortstop’s head and into centerfield to score the game-tieing and winning runs.

Penn had chances to tie or take the lead in its last two at-bats.

In the home half of the eighth, Dan Williams doubled to left field with one out. Tim May, who pinch hit for Michael Gatti, was hit by a pitch. Tom Grandieri followed and reached on an error by Pissari. Steve Gable grounded into a fielder’s choice – with Williams forced out at home by the third baseman. The play at the plate was close. It appeared as if the catcher may have lifted his foot off the plate before the ball reached him, but the home plate umpire ruled that not only was the foot there but that the catcher had tagged Williams for safe measure. With the bases still loaded, Kyle Armeny struck out swinging to end the inning.

With one more chance, Mariano attempted to make up for his passed balls in the eighth with the bat. Leading off the ninth, he doubled down the left field line to put the tieing run in scoring position with no out. Gordon struck out and Terry grounded out to third – neither advancing pinch-runner Matt Tellem. Jeff Cellucci pinch hit for Adrian Lorenzo and ground out to short to end the game.

The first round match-up in the 2008 Liberty Bell Classic started about as well as it could for Penn. Todd Roth pitched the first inning and struck out two batters without allowing a run.

In the bottom of the first, the Quakers connected for three runs – only the second time this season that the Red and Blue scored first in a game.

Grandieri started things off with a double to left center. Two batters later, Armeny scored him with a single back up the middle. Gordon continued his hot streak at the plate with a line-drive home run to left field. Unlike his inside the park homerun last weekend, there was no suspense in this one.

Armeny added a homer of his own in the fourth inning – his fourth of the season. His long ball was a towering shot to right field that bounced off the netting above the fence and back onto the field.

Brad Woodfield picked up the win for Lafayette with his one scoreless inning of relief in the seventh. Brian Mostek earned his second save of the season with two shutout innings. Gordon took the loss, his first of the season.

Penn opens its 2008 Ivy League season with a pair of doubleheaders over the weekend. The Quakers host Yale on Saturday. The first game starts at noon. On Sunday, Penn hosts Brown in a rematch of last season’s Ivy League Championship series won by the Bears. First pitch for that doubleheader is also scheduled for noon.