UPDATE: Due to weather, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team's series with Old Dominion has been changed once more. The Quakers will now face the Monarchs in a doubleheader on Sunday, beginning at 1 p.m., followed by a single game Monday at a time to be determined.
PHILADELPHIA – It’s spring on the East coast, so that means changes in weather and changes in scheduling. Originally slated to begin its series with Old Dominion on Friday, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team will now play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. and a single game on Sunday versus the Monarchs in Norfolk, Va.
The Quakers (1-2) are coming off an opening weekend that saw them take one of three games from Stetson in Florida, with the series also affected by rain at various times.
Beginning its spring break trip at Old Dominion (2-5), Penn will look to dodge any more inclement weather and play its full slate of game that include three against the Monarchs, two at VCU, and a three-game series at Richmond.
For the weekend series at Old Dominion, fans can follow the action with live video on Monarch Media ($), on live stats, or on Twitter - @PennBaseball.
A BETTER START TO 2015 FOR PENN: A season ago in Head Coach John Yurkow’s first season the Quakers started the spring going 0-6 before picking up their first victory. Penn won its second game of the season this year, though it took two days to do so. The Red and Blue led 4-1 on Saturday when rain halted the game. After Stetson tied the game 4-4 when it resumed on Sunday, the Quakers battled back for a 7-4 win.
LIMITING THE FREE PASS: In the season opener, the Penn pitching staff did itself no favors in a 9-0 defeat, allowing 10 Stetson batters to reach via the walk. The Quakers cut the number down in game two, allowing just two base on balls in their victory. In a 3-1 defeat on Sunday, Penn allowed three free passes.
EARLY OFFENSE: Penn’s leading hitters after three games are seniors Austin Bossart and Jeff McGarry, and juniors Ryan Mincher and Matt Greskoff. Bossart, McGarry, and Mincher each collected four hits in the opening series versus Stetson. Greskoff provided the punch in the victory over the Hatters, totaling five RBI, including a three-run homerun.
GOOD START, NO DECISION: Senior pitcher Connor Cuff started game two for Penn against Stetson. The right-hander went 5.0 innings, scattering six hits, while allowing only one run, and striking out three. Despite earning a no decision, Cuff earned Big 5 Pitcher of the Week for his efforts. Click here for more.
PICKING UP THE WIN ON THE MOUND: Sophomore Mike Reitcheck picked up the victory in the Quakers first win of 2015. The left-hander came on for Cuff on Sunday, picking up where the game left off on Saturday. Reitcheck persevered after the Hatters tied the game 4-4 quickly after play resumed. Allowing only one earned run, he tossed 4.0 innings, earning the win.
COLLEGIATE DEBUTS: Three Penn freshman made their first collegiate apperances in the series versus Stetson. Ryan Schroth started two games at second base for the Quakers, while Andrew Murnane made one start in left field. Each collected a hit in their first appearance. On the mound, Russell Rhoads came on in relief in game one, working one inning.
SCOUTING OLD DOMINION: The Monarchs are off to a slower start in 2015, picking up two wins in their first seven games. Coming off a NCAA regional appearance in 2014, Old Dominion lost its first three games of the season versus Coastal Carolina, Maryland, and Canisius. The Monarchs then took two of three game from Rutgers, before falling at East Carolina on Wednesday. ODU has been led early on by junior Connor Myers (.400, 1 3B) and senior Tyler Ostrich (.391, 1 2B, 1 3B), with five RBI each. Junior P.J. Higgins (1 2B, 2 RBI) leads the team with 11 hits. On the mound, the Monarchs are led by senior Greg Tomchick (1-1, 4.50 ERA, 8.0 IP 12 K) and redshirt senior Victor Diaz (1-1, 4.15 ERA, 8.2 IP, 9 K).
FIRST MEETING WITH THE MONARCHS: According to the Penn baseball archives, the 2015 series will be the first between Old Dominion and the Quakers. ODU is led by Head Coach Chris Finwood, who in is fourth season at the helm has a record of 85-84.
PENN PRESEASON NOTES
PENN BASEBALL IN 2014: Finishing the season with a 24-17 overall record and going 15-5 in the Ivy League, Penn completed one of its most successful season in recent memory, and collected the seventh most victories in program history. The 15 Ivy victories were the most for Penn since the 1989 season, when the Red and Blue went 15-3 on their way to an Ivy League championship. Nine individuals were named All-Ivy players at the end of the 2014 season, while the Quakers earned four Ivy League Player of the Weeks awards. Penn placed two individuals on the Philadelphia All-Big 5 team, and also racked up six Big 5 Player or Pitcher of the Weeks honors throughout the course of the spring. At one point in the season, the Quakers won 13 of 15 games including an 11-game winning streak, in which they were named CollegeBaseballInsider.com’s National Team of the Week.
HEAD COACH JOHN YURKOW: Entering his second season at the helm as the W. Joseph Blood Head Coach of Baseball for Penn, the team is looking to take the next step in 2015 and play for the Ivy League championship. In 2014, the Quakers finished with a 24-17 overall record, the seventh most wins in program history, while going 15-5 in the Ivy League, the most Ivy wins for the Red and Blue since 1989. Penn fell in a one-game playoff to Columbia for the Gehrig Division last season. Of the loss Yurkow said, “I would hope our guys look at last year as a learning experience. Our team was extremely disappointed. I thought we had the best team in the league, but the best team doesn’t always win.” Before becoming head coach, Yurkow had spent the last seven seasons as the Quakers’ top assistant coach, working with the hitters and infielders.
QUAKERS COACHING STAFF: Yurkow’s coaching staff remains the same from 2014 to 2015 with the exception of the volunteer assistant coach position. Mike Santello is in his fourth season at Penn working with the hitters and catchers, along with serving as the recruiting coordinator for the Quakers. Josh Schwartz is in his second season serving as the pitching coach after guiding Penn to a 3.60 earned run average in 2014, the lowest mark in head coach John Yurkow's association with the program. Penn pitchers also led the Ivy League in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.21) and were second in the league in strikeouts per nine innings (7.3) in 2014. New to the staff this year is Mark Royer, who works with the hitters and outfielders. Royer played collegiately at Eastern University where he was a three-year starter and captain for the Eagles, graduating in 2013. He replaced volunteer assistant coach Andre Butler, who was hired as assistant coach at DeSales University in Pennsylvania.
EXPERIENCED SENIORS: Penn has 10 seniors on the roster in 2015. Those seniors have combined to make 670 appearances in their careers to this point. Three of those seniors – Austin Bossart, Jeff McGarry, and Mitch Montaldo played in all 41 games in 2014, while pitchers Connor Cuff, Dan Gautieri, and Ronnie Glenn made 27 of 41 starts on the mound for the Quakers last season. Classmates Connor Betbeze, Paul Cotler, Matt McKinnon, and Stephen Silvestri are also key contributors to Penn’s success a season ago.
NEW FACES FOR PENN: The Quakers have 10 newcomers on the roster this season. The incoming come to Penn from near and far, representing seven different states – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Texas and Virginia. Those players are: Brendan Broviak, Jordan Della Valle, Billy Lescher, Jakob Levison, Andrew Murnane, Jesse Roth, Ryan Schroth, Bradley Wilpon, and John White. For more on the Penn newcomers, please click here.
INSIDE LOOK…PITCHING: In 2014, the Penn pitching staff recorded 176 strikeouts, the most all-time in a single season in program history. Penn comes into the 2015 season with three experienced starters to head the rotation – senior left-hander Ronnie Glenn (2014: 5-2, 3.46 ERA, 54.2 IP, 48 K), senior right-hander Connor Cuff (2014: 5-3, 1.77 ERA, 66.0 IP, 49 K), and sophomore right-hander Jake Cousins (2014: 4-0, 1.59 ERA, 34.0 IP, 21 K). Each of member of the starting trio earned All-Ivy honors a year ago. Other options in the rotation will be converted left-handed closer, sophomore Mike Reitcheck (2014: 0-2, 4.22 ERA, 10.2 IP, 16 K, 5 SV), and senior right-hander Dan Gautieri (2014: 2-6, 4.97 ERA, 50.2 IP, 53 K). In relief, the Quakers will be led by senior left-hander Stephen Silvestri (2014: 11.0 IP, 8 K), junior right-hander Mitch Holtz (2014: 10.1 IP, 8 K), and sophomore right-hander’s Mitchell Hammonds (2014: 14.1 IP, 11 K) and Andrew Burnick (2014: 4.0 IP, 3 K). Two freshman, Russell Rhoads and John White, could also see some time on the mound in relief for Penn.
INSIDE LOOK…CATCHING: The Quakers will rely on senior catcher Austin Bossart (2014: .297, 4 HR, 9 2B, 19 RBI) to handle the catching duties, as he has done all four years at Penn. Bossart was named First-team All-Ivy in 2014, and has been named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list twice in 2013 and 2014. Bossart has started and played in all 120 games during his Penn career, either catching or at first base. Behind Bossart, will be sophomore Tim Graul, who saw action in 17 games, making seven starts in 2014. Graul collected seven RBI, with a home run and a double, in his freshman season.
INSIDE LOOK…INFIELD: An experience infield returns for Penn, with senior Mitch Montaldo (2014: .211, 5 HR, 7 2B, 16 RBI) at third base, junior Ryan Mincher (2014: .271, 4 HR, 10 2B, 24 RBI) at shortstop, and senior Jeff McGarry (2014: .316, 4 HR, 12 2B, 30 RBI) at first base. Newcomer, freshman Ryan Schroth will join Mincher up the middle, playing second base. McGarry and Mincher were both All-Ivy players a season ago, while Montaldo looks to carry his hot-hitting from the fall into the spring. Depth for the infield will come from senior Matt McKinnon (2014: .279, 1 HR, 2 2B, 14 RBI) at first base, when he is not splitting time in the designated hitter role. Also, freshman John White could see some time in the infield for the Quakers.
INSIDE LOOK…OUTFIELD: A cast of six players will see the majority of time in the outfield for Penn. In centerfield senior Connor Betbeze (.214, 1 HR, 1 2B, 8 RBI) and junior Gary Tesch (2014: .246, 1 HR, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 5 SB) will captain the defense while the corner positions will be filled with junior Matt Greskoff (2014: .292, 4 2B, 14 RBI), junior Jonah Campbell (2014: Injured – did not play), and freshman Jakob Levison. Senior Paul Cotler (2014: .286, 2 2B, 2 RBI) could also see time in the outfield in addition to his role as a designated hitter.
WORKING WITH VS. CANCER FOUNDATION & CHOP: The Penn baseball team is in its second year of working with the Vs. Cancer Foundation, and helping raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer research. The cause hits close to home with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia right next door to the Penn campus. Members of the team visited CHOP this fall, and are in the process of setting up another visit for later this spring. The team raised nearly $10,000 last season for the foundation, setting the same goal this year. At this point in the fundraising campaign, they've achieved close to half their goal. For more information, or if you would like to make a contribution, please click here.
Download: Penn vs. ODU notes.pdf