McNulty Tosses a Shutout as Baseball Splits With Princeton

Princeton 5, Penn 0 Game One Box Score

Penn 4, Princeton 0 Game Two Box Score

PHILADELPHIA – In a season where Penn’s pitching staff has struggled to establish itself as a presence, the last two weeks have seen a pair of freshmen stake their claim to prominent roles in the Quaker rotation for years to come.

Headlining the duo is Chris McNulty. The southpaw went nine innings on Sunday, propelling Penn to a 4-0 win over Princeton. If that sounds familiar, it is because McNulty tossed a similar gem last weekend in a 6-3 complete game victory over Cornell.

Not content with a six-hit, three-run day against the Big Red last weekend, McNulty shutout the Tigers on Sunday. He struck out seven batters in each game. A key factor in his ability to limit his pitches and to keep runners from crossing the plate? Just one walk – last weekend against the Big Red – and two hit batsmen.

McNulty added to his impressive eight days of pitching with a save on Thursday against La Salle in a Big Five game.

His classmate, Vince Voiro, has dropped his ERA by two full runs over the last week. He was a tough-luck loser on Sunday, allowing four earned runs in a complete-game loss to Princeton, 5-0. Last weekend against Cornell, he allowed just two runs over 6.1 innings in an eventual loss, 3-2. In both outings, he struck out five batters. Today, against Princeton, he went the whole game without allowing a walk.

The difference for the two rookies was that the offense came through in McNulty’s game. All the lefty needed was the four-run fifth inning the Quaker’s offense was able to put together. Nine Penn batters reached base in the inning, with five registering a hit. After Mike Mariano walked to start the inning, Jeremy Maas plated him with an RBI double – his 13th double of the season. James Mraz drove in Maas with a single to right center. A perfectly placed bunt from Steve Gable that stopped just in fair territory at the third base bag resulted in two runners on for the Quakers.

Tom Grandieri and Dan Williams each came through with RBI singles to score the final two runs of the inning and provide McNulty with more than enough run support on a day where his was locating his pitches exactly where they needed to be to quiet the Tiger lineup.

The game was capped by two fantastic defensive plays. After a leadoff single in the ninth, Steve Gable turned a slicing liner into a double play by snagging the ball just off the ground and firing to William Gordon at first. Grandieri followed with a “web gem” of his own, diving against the wall in right to reel in Brian Berkowitz’ long fly ball to end the game. The finality of the play was in doubt for a second as Grandieri bounced off the wall and to the ground. A raise of his arm with the ball firmly entrenched was enough to signal the end of the game and a win for Penn.

The Quakers are back in action on Wednesday at Lehigh for a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.