PHILADELPHIA – One more time for the Ivy League Gehrig Division title.
The University of Pennsylvania baseball team will host Columbia in a one-game playoff to determine the Gehrig Division champion, this Saturday at 1 p.m., at Meiklejohn Stadium.
Penn (24-16, 15-5 Ivy) and Columbia (24-17, 15-5 Ivy) will play a fifth and deciding game, after splitting a four-game series this past weekend. The Quakers are playing for the Gehrig Division championship for the first time since 2007, while the Lions are defending champions of the Ivy League.
Penn and Columbia’s one-game playoff will not be the only one this weekend, as Yale (19-21, 11-9 Ivy) and Dartmouth (17-19, 11-9 Ivy) have tied atop the Rolfe Division as well. This is the first time in Ivy divisional play, that both the Gehrig and Rolfe divisions have required a one-game playoff to decide the winners.
The game on Saturday between the Quakers and Lions will be a live video/audio broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network, with live stats available on PennAthletics.com, and updates available on Twitter @PennBaseball.
HISTORIC IVY PLAYOFF: For the first time in Ivy League baseball history, one-game playoffs will decide both the Gehrig and Rolfe Division titles. Since divisional play began in 1993, there have been five previous one-game playoffs. Penn has been involved in two of the five, falling to Princeton in both 1996 and 1997. Dartmouth has been involved in one extra playoff game, defeating Brown in 2001, while Columbia and Yale will be playing in the first divisional one-game playoffs.
LAST GEHRIG TITLE FOR PENN…: In 2007, the Quakers finished with a 20-19 overall record, including 12-8 in the Ivy League, winning the Gehrig Division title by one game over Princeton, which finished 11-9. Penn went on to the Ivy Championship Series, falling to Brown in two games.
LAST GEHRIG TITLE FOR COLUMBIA…: Defending Ivy League champions, the Lions won the Gehrig Division title and the Championship Series in 2013. Columbia ran away with the division, going 16-4, finishing five games ahead of Cornell (11-9). The Lions then went on to take the series in two games over Dartmouth, heading to an NCAA regional, where they finished 1-2, defeating New Mexico, while falling to Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State.
SCOUTING COLUMBIA: The Lions will all but likely turn to left-handed pitcher David Speer in Saturday’s game. The senior pitched game one against Penn last weekend, going seven innings, allowing no runs on five hits, a walk, and finishing with seven strikeouts. He received Ivy League Pitcher of the Week for his outing. Offensively, outfielder Gus Craig collected nine hits, including three doubles, and six RBI. The junior received Ivy League Player of the Week for his performance. Also contributing for the Lions, were sophomore Rob Paller – five hits, four runs, two RBI, and freshman Will Savage – four hits, one run, one RBI.
IVY LEAGUE NOTES: Matt Greskoff and Ronnie Glenn were named to the Ivy League weekly honor roll for their performances against Columbia. For the second week in a row, when Penn needed a win, Glenn was able to deliver on the mound. The junior left-hander pitched a complete game, seven innings, with three strikeouts on Sunday. He took a shutout into the seventh inning, before sealing a 3-2 victory for the Quakers. Greskoff came up with three key doubles over the weekend versus Columbia. The sophomore drove in five runs and along with Glenn, helped lead Penn to a series split, forcing the one-game playoff versus Columbia … Connor Cuff leads the Ancient Eight with a 1.34 ERA, and is tied for third in wins (5) with teammate Ronnie Glenn and Columbia’s George Thanopoulos … Dan Gautieri is tied for second with Columbia’s David Speer with 53 strikeouts. Speer has thrown 63 innings, while Gautieri has only thrown 50.2 innings … Freshman Mike Reitcheck is tied for second in the League with five saves … Rick Brebner is second in the League in home runs (8), and RBIs (31), while Mitch Montaldo is fifth in home runs, with five … Jeff McGarry is fourth in the Ivies in batting average, hitting .324 (48-for-148), including 12 doubles, four home runs, and 30 RBIs – tied for third in the League.
THE PRIOR FOUR GAMES: Penn and Columbia split over a four-game series this past weekend on April 25 & 26. The Lions jumped out to a 6-0 win in game one extending a school-record winning streak to 15 games, before Penn won game two, 12-4, snapping the streak. On Saturday, behind left-hand pitcher Ronnie Glenn, Penn came away victorious 3-2 in game one, before falling 5-2 in game two. Read more about Friday and Saturday’s games, by clicking on the links.
PENN AT MEIKLEJOHN STADIUM: The Quakers boast a 13-3, 8-2 Ivy home record at Meiklejohn Stadium, entering the one-game playoff with Columbia. Penn’s only home losses have been a 13-inning, 4-2, decision versus Saint Joseph’s, a 9-0 defeat versus Cornell, and the 6-0 defeat last weekend versus Columbia. Penn is hitting .293 as a team, scoring 107 runs, with 52 extra base hits, at Meiklejohn, including 12 home runs. On the mound, the Red and Blue have a 2.65 ERA, with 119 strikeouts in 136 innings pitched.
QUAKER POWER RANKINGS: For the first time all season, Penn has dropped out of the top-10 nationally in home runs per game. Currently, the Quakers are ranked 12th in the country averaging 0.80 round-trippers per game (32 total home runs in 40 games). Leading the nation is Louisiana-Lafayette which has hit 59 home runs in 46 games for a 1.28 average.
LOOKING FOR A 25TH VICTORY: The current 24 wins this season, is the most for a Penn team since the Quakers won 25 games in 1996. A 25th win would put the 2014 team in elite company, and place it in a tie for third all-time for wins in a season at Penn. The Red and Blue recorded 25 wins in 1976, ‘94, and ‘95. Second on the list, is the 1988 squad which recorded 28 wins, and first is the 1989 team, with 29 wins.
NEW IVY LEAGUE MARK FO(U)R QUAKERS: After junior catcher Austin Bossart received his Player of the Week honor on April 22, Penn has now received four Player of the Week awards during the 2014 season. The four honors this year by Gary Tesch, Rick Brebner (twice), and Bossart mark the most for the Quakers in a single season in program history.
SIX WEEKLY HONORS IN THE BIG 5: Penn not only did well in Ivy awards, but racked up six Big 5 Player or Pitcher of the Week honors as wellin 2014. Jeff McGarry, Rick Brebner, Austin Bossart, and Ronnie Glenn were each honored once, while Connor Cuff was honored twice.
2014 TEAM IN GOOD COMPANY: At 15-5 in the Ivy League, the 2014 Quakers have put themselves in good company in Penn baseball history. After producing its best start in program history in the Ivy League, beginning 8-0, Penn has continued to play well versus the Ancient Eight. The Quakers started 10-0 in league play in 1989, in what was then the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League (EIBL). Penn and the other Ivy League teams participated in the EIBL from 1930 to 1992. That league included Army and Navy. Beginning in 1993, the eight League schools have competed in an Ivy-only conference schedule. The 8-0 start in league play was the best by an Ivy school since Dartmouth in 2009. The Big Green started 11-0, finishing the season with a 16-4 league record and winning the championships series over Cornell.