SCHEDULE UPDATE: The Penn versus Villanova game scheduled for 3:15 p.m. on March 19 has been postponed due to rain. A makeup date has not been announced.
PHILADELPHIA – In its first Big 5 matchup of the season, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team will travel to take on Villanova Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Villanova Ballpark in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
Penn (2-9) is coming off a weekend series in Richmond, in which the Quakers were defeated by a run in two contests – 6-5 in 11 innings on Friday, and 1-0 on Sunday – and two runs in a 5-3 game on Saturday.
Villanova (5-12) will play La Salle on Tuesday afternoon, before hosting Penn on Wednesday. The Wildcats have wins against Quinnipiac, Norfolk State, Big 5 opponent Saint Joseph’s, Niagara, and Saint Peter’s.
Penn and Villanova split two games last season, with the Quakers winning 12-5 in an early matchup, before the Wildcats won 5-4 in the Liberty Bell Classic.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Penn – Jake Cousins, RHP (Fr., 0-0, 1.42 ERA, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 5 K)
Villanova – TBA
SCOUTING VILLANOVA: The Wildcats have five wins thus far in the 2014 season, scoring 78 runs, while allowing 111 in 17 games. They are led offensively by senior outfield Connor Jones (.306, 1 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 17 RBI), sophomore first baseman Max Beerman (.295, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI), and sophomore second baseman Kevin Jewitt (.328, 11 R, 3 2B, 6 RBI).
OVER THE WEEKEND IN RICHMOND: Penn lost three games to the Spiders by a total of four runs. Falling 6-5 in extra innings on Friday, junior outfielder Connor Betbeze had put the Quakers ahead in the top of the 11th inning with a two-run home run to right field, after a Brandon Engelhardt walk.
On Saturday, sophomore shortstop Ryan Mincher collected two hits, while scoring two runs in a 5-3 defeat. Senior right-handed pitcher Cody Thomson pitched two scoreless innings in relief, allowing one hit, while striking out two.
Sunday saw Penn’s Dan Gautieri throw six innings with five strikeouts, allowing only one run, before handing the ball over to reliever Jack Hartman, who pitched two scoreless innings. Junior first baseman Jeff McGarry tallied two hits on the day, but the Quakers were unable to score, falling 1-0.
McGARRY NAMED BIG 5 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior first baseman Jeff McGarry had a breakout week going 10-for-19 (.526), totaling seven RBI, while hitting two home runs, and scoring six runs, earning himself the Big 5 Player of the Week, for the week ending on March 16.
PENN POWER: Penn is currently ranked fourth in the country in home runs per game. The Quakers have hit a total of 13 home runs in 11 games, averaging 1.18 per game. Only Georgia Southern (29 HR, 1.45/gm), Tennessee Tech (24 HR, 1.20/gm), and Davidson (19 HR, 1.19/gm) are ahead of Penn in the category.
IVY LEAGUE NOTES: The Quakers Dan Gautieri, Jack Hartman, and Jeff McGarry were named to the Ivy League honor roll for the week ending on March 16. McGarry was recognized for his outstanding week at the plate, hitting .526 (10-for-19), while Gautieri was recognized for his start against Richmond. Hartman was named to the honor roll for picking up his first collegiate win, in his first start, throwing five innings against Delaware State, allowing two runs, while striking out two.