Sports | Baseball

Around the League: Penn still perfect as inter-divisional play concludes

Penn surprised no one with its continued stellar performance across the league. With an undefeated league record, the Quakers swept their weekend opponents and maintained their position atop the Lou Gehrig Division. The Bulldogs also managed wins in three of their four weekend games, while Brown continued to struggle.

The Quakers (16-11, 8-0 Ivy) took to the road to face Harvard (6-18, 1-5 Ivy) on Saturday and controlled the day with two wins, 7-3 and 9-6, over the Crimson. Outfielder Rick Brebner and infielder Mike Vilardo contributed to the Quakers’ success in game 1 with a pair of RBIs each. Penn continued its run into game 2, grabbing an early 3-0 lead and winning, 9-6. On Sunday, Penn set its sights on conquering the faltering Big Green (7-16, 2-6 Ivy). Outstanding pitching marked the first game for both squads. Penn righty Connor Cuff and Dartmouth righty Michael Danielak both managed to prevent any scoring. However, Penn infielder Mike Vilardo broke the silence with a home run in the top of the fifth, propelling Penn to a 4-0 win. Dartmouth wasn’t able to fend off the league-leader in the second game, either, and watched the Quakers cruise to a 7-4 win. The two-game sweep pushed the Quakers to their 11th straight victory.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Brown’s winless Ivy season continued. The Bears (6-15, 0-8 Ivy) remained in the basement of the Red Rolfe Division after being swept at home by Princeton (9-14, 4-2 Ivy)  and Cornell. The Tigers (9-14, 4-2 Ivy) topped the Bears in Saturday’s first game, 3-2, and were able to overcome Brown’s early 3-1 lead to take the second game, 10-6. Cornell (14-11, 5-3 Ivy) capped off Brown’s losing weekend with a 2-game sweep. The Big Red controlled the first game 4-1, and was able to fight off the Bears for a 6-5 victory in game 2, in large thanks to reliever Paul Balestrieri’s five strikeouts and no runs in five innings. 

Outfielder Chris Cruz also set a Cornell record in game 2 on Sunday with his 24th collegiate home run, his fifth of the season. The win was Cornell’s third in a row and kept the Big Red in third in the Lou Gehrig Division. Against Yale on Saturday, the Big Red dropped game 1 before slipping by in the ninth inning of game 2 with a 6-4 win.

The loss was the only one of the weekend for Yale (12-15, 5-3 Ivy), the top team in the Red Rolfe Division. Taking on Cornell on Saturday, the Bulldogs waited through eight quiet innings to find their first walk-off victory with a 1-0 score, before falling in game 2. Yale was able to avenge this loss by sweeping Princeton the next day. After a 1-1 tie brought the action into an eighth inning, the Bulldogs defeated Princeton, 2-1, thanks to a game-ending walk. The second game saw a 4-2 victory for Yale as righty David Hickey allowed only two runs and five hits in just over six innings. 

The losses prevented Princeton from keeping pace with Penn atop the Lou Gehrig Division. After Princeton hung on to take game 1 against Brown, 3-2, reliever Luke Strieber saved the day in game 2, allowing just one hit and one walk in four innings after his predecessor had allowed six runs in just five innings. But on Sunday, 14 hits translated into just three runs at Yale.

While Harvard’s offense wasn’t stifled, it was outgunned in a weekend sweep at the hands of Penn and Columbia (12-15, 5-3 Ivy), keeping the Crimson in third in the Red Rolfe Division. The Crimson pitching staff allowed 37 hits and 36 runs over the weekend, although 15 were unearned. Only righty T.J. Laurisch managed to pitch at least an inning without allowing a hit or a run.

Dartmouth, meanwhile, dropped three of four and is in second in the Red Rolfe Division. The Big Green split the first day of its home Ivy weekend against Columbia on Saturday with a 10-inning thriller that went 3-2 in favor of the home team. The Light Blue fought back in the second game, winning by one run, 5-4. 

Next weekend, Yale and Brown travel to Dartmouth and Harvard, and Columbia and Cornell host Penn and Princeton as divisional play begins.  

sports@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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