Penn vs. Rollins Live Blog
WINTER PARK, Fla. - The Quakers led for the middle four innings, but two runs late proved to be the difference as Penn fell 3-2 in a close battle with host Rollins in the final game of the Rollins College Baseball Week.
Starter Paul Cusick pitched well for the Red and Blue in the loss, going 6.1 innings, allowing three runs while striking out six. Mike Mariano finished 1-for-4 with two RBI for Penn while Tom Grandieri extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single in the eighth.
It was Rollins who struck first on Sunday, as Taylor Ferguson doubled off Cusick with one out in the first. He came around to score following a wild pitch and a groundout to second for the 1-0. It would be all they would get in the inning as Cusick held strong.
Tars' starter Ben Blanton kept the Quaker bats at bay, throwing a no hitter through the game's first three innings. In the fourth, senior William Gordon earned a two-out walk and junior Dan Williams followed with a double, moving Gordon to third. Junior Mike Mariano came through for the second time in as many days, with a two-run single through the left side, putting Penn up 3-2. Junior Will Davis singled to extend the two-out rally, but was thrown out after rounding second on a single by Jeremy Maas to end the inning.
Nursing a 3-2 advantage, Cusick kept Rollins off balance with a mix of fastballs and breaking pitches through the fourth, fifth and sixth, striking out four in the process. With Penn unable to get an insurance run, Rollins finally capitalized in the bottom of the seventh.
A one-out solo shot to right by Scott Chase tied the game at two and the next two runners reached base, chasing Cusick from the game with runners on the corners. A sacrifice bunt on an offering from Reid Terry scored, giving the Tars the 3-2 lead, but Terry struck out the next batter to end the inning.
In the top of the eighth, Gordon singled through the right side with one out and Grandieri singled and took second on a throw to third, putting runners on second and third. Williams grounded out to third and the runners couldn't advance, and Mariano grounded out to end the scoring threat.
Terry shut down Rollins in the bottom of the inning, but Penn managed just a two-out walk by Spencer Branigan in the top of the ninth, falling by the one run margin.
The Quakers were errorless on defense, but only managed two runs on six hits on offense. Penn returns to the diamond Wednesday when it hosts Temple at Meiklejohn Stadium at 3 p.m.