"Wild" Ride Ends in a Split for Baseball on Opening Day

Georgetown 14 - Penn 3 (Game One) Box Score

Penn 7 - Georgetown 6 (Game Two) Box Score

PHILADELPHIAIt was quite a day for junior Tom Grandieri and the Penn baseball team on Opening Day as the outfielder/pitcher made his presence felt throughout Penn’s split of a doubleheader with Georgetown at Meiklejohn Stadium. The Quakers rallied in the bottom of the ninth in game two for a 7-6 win to avenge a 14-3 loss in the opener.

Grandieri tied his career high in home runs with two on the day – one in each game. He drove in a total of four runs on three hits. On the flip side, his error in right field in the top of the first led to three unearned runs which gave the Hoyas a 4-0 lead a half inning into the game.

Grandieri, not content to leave his mark on just the offensive and defensive portions of the game, picked up the win in game two – after blowing a save in the ninth inning by giving up a three-run homer to Sean Lamont that erased a 5-3 Penn lead with two outs.

The southpaw has a resilient Penn lineup to thank for the W. In the nightcap, after the Quakers gave up the lead they had built early in the game, Penn refused to give up – even when faced with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Freshman James Mraz, who entered the game in rightfield defensively in the top of the ninth, drew a walk in his first collegiate at-bat to start the ninth inning. After Jeff Cellucci struck out and Adrian Lorenzo grounded out to the pitcher, Mike Mariano gave Penn its second runner of the inning when he was hit by Georgetown closer Walt Harris’ pitch. Sophomore Adrian Thomas tied the game with a single to left field that plated Mraz.

It was then that Harris’ control again came back to haunt the Hoyas.

Matt Tellem, who had pinch-ran for Mariano, advanced to third on a wild pitch from Harris. With junior tri-captain Steve Gable at the plate and the winning run 90-feet away, Harris needed his best command. Fortunately for the Red and Blue, Harris again couldn’t find the catcher’s mitt and Tellem scampered home with the winning run and Penn’s first win of the 2009 campaign.

The Quakers had taken a 2-0 lead after the first inning when Grandieri sent his second homer of the day into the netting in right-center. The Quakers manufactured their way to a 5-1 lead after two Jeremy Maas doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a Georgetown throwing error that allowed Will Davis to reach. Thomas drove them in with a double of his own. Gable drove in Thomas with a single to left.

From the third inning on, Penn’s bats went silent, managing just four hits over the next six innings before the last-inning heroics.

The lack of offense allowed the Hoyas to climb back in the game.

Lamont connected for his second of three homers in the doubleheader in the third inning. Tommyy Lee scored Georgetown’s third run in the seventh inning after a throwing error from the catcher on his steal of third sailed into left.

Penn was one out away from the win in the ninth after Grandieri induced a fly-out from Dan Capeless, but Lamont’s longball prolonged the game, setting the stage for a walk-off win for the Quakers.

The win in game two salvaged a split for the Quakers after Georgetown jumped all over them in game one for a 14-3 win. Junior Todd Roth took the loss for Penn, but he was not helped by his defense as Penn committed six errors which led to five unearned runs.

William Gordon and Grandieri were the only bright spots for Penn in the game – each hitting home runs in the loss.

Robbie Seymour and Paul Cusick were bright spots on the mound in game two for Penn, allowing just three earned runs over 8.1 innings. Cusick struck out five Hoya hitters while only allowing one walk.

Penn is off until its Spring Break trip March 6-15 at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. Penn will play Maine and Rollins in addition to four more games against Georgetown.