PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Errors plagued the Penn baseball team in a15-6 loss to Philadelphia Diamond Five rival Villanova in the first round of the Liberty Bell Classic on Tuesday afternoon.
The Wildcats (11-11) will now move on to the next round to face Lafayette, which defeated Saint Joseph's today, 3-0. The Quakers (6-13) will take on the Hawks in a consolation game onTuesday, April 4, at a timeandlocationto be determined.
With a pitching staff worn out from last weekend'sconference actionand with six games in as many days coming up, the Quakers were forced to send senior first baseman Sean Abate to the moundto makehis first collegiate start.
Abate received little help in the fieldatthe onset of the game, as Villanova's Kris Molloy reached on an error by Jim Farrell, then reached second on the next batter when a potential double-play ball was dropped. The Wildcats responded with three RBI singles to take an early 3-0 lead.
After scoring two more runs in the second inning to take a 5-0 lead, Villanova put together its biggest inning in the fourth, as they loaded the bases on a bunt single, an error and a walk. Jeremy Hunt took advantage and blasted a grand slam over the left field fence to give the Wildcats a sizeable 12-0 lead they would not relinquish.
Hunt's long ball was the only extra-base hit of thegame for Villanova, which amassed a total of 16 hits off Penn pitching.
The Quakers, who committed a total of six errors, scored three runs in the sixth inning on an RBI double by Josh Corn, whowould also cross the plate on the play after a two-base throwing errorby Villanova. Penn scored another run off a Wildcat mishap, then scored two runs in the seventh on a one-run single by Joey Boaen and an RBI double by Scott Graham to cut the score to 12-5. Villanova made sure there would be no Quaker comeback with three more runs in the seventh inning.
The game was officially calledbefore the bottom of theeighth inning due to darkness.
Abate (0-1) pitched five innings and allowed 12 runs on 11 hits, though just four of the runs were earned, while striking out four and walking one.
Villanova starter Ryan Wendler (1-1) allowed no runs and just two hits through five innings with two strikeouts and one walk to pick up the win. Craig Mirsky went 3-for-5 with an RBI for Villanova, while Derek Shunk added two hits and three runs scored.
Corn, Tim May, Alex Nwaka and Graham all had two hits each for the Quakers.
Penn returns to action on Wednesday, March 29, for another Philadelphia Diamond Five contest with Saint Joseph's. The game is set to start at 3 p.m., at Meiklejohn Stadium (it is a regularly scheduled game, not a part of the Liberty Bell Classic).