DURHAM, N.C. - The UniversityofPennsylvania baseball team struggled to cash in with runners in scoring position on Wednesday, and the result was an 8-1 loss to Duke in a blustery finale of the quick two-game set. Penn drops to 2-4 with the loss.
With a strong wind blowing in towards home plate, the Blue Devils jumped on Penn starter Jeff McGarry in the bottom of the first inning. Lead-off hitter Andy Perez fought the breeze to single into right, then stole second as Austin Bossart had to force his throws through the wind from behind the dish. Jeff Kremer followed with a single, but Perez couldn't advance thanks to a good stop from Mitch Montaldo at shortstop. A deep fly to Deitrich in right moved Perez up to third with one away, and he came in as McGarry checked on Kremer at first, only to have his throw nick off the glove of Spencer Branigan and bound off into foul territory. After a walk put two on, Chris Marconcini doubled, bringing both runners around for a 3-0 lead.
McGarry settled in from there and held Duke in check for 5.1 innings, but the Quakers could never slice into the lead. Penn had two on with no outs in the second inning until a double play erased much of the threat. Bossart doubled to lead off the third inning but was stranded at third base. Another double play erased a lead-off single from Ryan Deitrich in the fourth inning, and a two-out Bossart triple in the fifth also went by the boards.
Duke led off the bottom of the sixth with a routine pop fly to center field. That was the final batter McGarry faced in the contest, as Penn opted for the lefty-on-lefty matchup of Stephen Silvestri against Marconcini. Silvestri got two strikes on the Duke slugger, but his plate-hugging ways earned him a free pass to first after Penn's sophomore hurler caught him on the elbow. That was followed by a walk to put two on with one away. John Beasley had no better luck, hitting a batter and walking two to allow the Blue Devils to open up a 5-0 edge. Mitch Holtz got the Quakers out of the inning, but not before a sac fly and a single had made it 7-0.
Penn got on the board in the eighth inning as Bossart led off with a single, capping a 3-for-3 performance at the plate. Gary Tesch followed with a line drive single into center, and Mike Vilardo brought Bossart home with a stinging single to left. The Penn rally ended as Duke's relay throw home was intercepted by the third baseman and tossed to second where Tesch had taken too big of a turn. The Blue Devils added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to reach the final 8-1 margin.
The Quakers conclude their Spring Break trip with a three-game series at Winthrop beginning Friday evening at Winthrop. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
Download: Penn-Duke Box.pdf